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Syria Holds Talks With Chemical Weapons Watchdog Ahead of Probe

Bloomberg 2018-04-16 16:31:21

Syrian officials met with envoys from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent to probe the allegations of chemical weapons use that provoked a U.S.-led missile strike.

The government is ready to cooperate and facilitate the work of the OPCW fact-finding team, Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad told state-run Sana news agency. Mekdad also heads the national committee overseeing Syria’s implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mekdad didn’t say when the OPCW team would head from Damascus to the suburb of Douma to begin investigating the April 6 attack. Syria has denied ever using toxic chemicals in the course of its seven-year civil war, although previous OPCW missions have detected toxic substances.

Syria agreed to turn over its chemical weapons after a sarin nerve gas attack near the capital in August 2013, but Western countries say compliance has been partial.

A QuickTake: Why Assad’s Victories Leave Him Ruling Ruins in Syria

The U.S., U.K. and France launched missile strikes over the weekend to punish what they say was a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians. The U.S.-led strike targeted military positions and research facilities linked to chemical weapons, American officials said.

The U.S. said Sunday it would impose new sanctions on Russia over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.