The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a report on the FFM’s investigation regarding incidents of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Kafr Zeita in Hama governorate in Syria, on October 1, 2016.
On October 2, 2016, open sources broadcasted reports of the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Kafr Zeita on October 2, 2016. The reported incident involved two industrial chlorine cylinder “barrels” containing toxic gas near a field hospital. Approximately 20 individuals suffered from suffocation and breathing difficulties.
The FFM was able to conduct interviews with witnesses and obtain digital evidence. It additionally obtained one of the industrial chlorine cylinders retrieved from the incident location in Kafr Zeita. The FFM observed that the industrial cylinder was engraved with markings reading “CL2”, the molecular formula for chlorine gas.
Off-site chemical analyses performed by independent laboratories part of the OPCW Designated Laboratories network, a mechanical study, and digital simulations were conducted to assess the damage visible on the cylinder.
The FFM was able to positively link the chlorine cylinder to the October 1, 2016 incident. The FFM found that the cylinder ruptured as a result of mechanical force and released a toxic irritant substance that affects the respiratory system and mucus membranes.
The report concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe that the industrial chlorine cylinder was used as a weapon.
The FFM report was shared with States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The report will also be transmitted to the United Nations Security Council through the UN Secretary-General.
FFM was set up in 2014 with an ongoing mandate “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes by the Assad regime”
The FFM’s mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria.
The FFM has previously determined that the use of chlorine, sulfur mustard, and sarin as chemical weapons took place in other incidents in the country.