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The OPCW says it is investigating the latest suspected chemical attack in Syria

Ⓒ COMITÉ COORDINACIÓN DE DUMA/AFP – HO – | Volunteers wash a man’s water in a field hospital in the Syrian city of Duma on April 7, 2018, after an alleged chemical attack

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced on Monday that it is investigating information about an alleged chemical attack in the city of Duma, the last rebel stronghold in the Syrian province of Guta Oriental.

The OPCW “made a preliminary analysis of the information on the alleged use of chemical weapons since its publication,” said the organization’s general director, Ahmet Uzumcu.

A team of researchers is working to gather more elements “to establish if chemical weapons were used,” he added.

The experts examine the elements from “all available sources” and will make part of their conclusions to the 192 countries that signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, Uzumcu added.

Syria joined this treaty in 2013, after admitting, under heavy US and Russian pressure, and under the threat of Western military attacks, maintaining chemical weapons stocks.

The OPCW claims to have destroyed all of the declared Syrian reserves, but Uzumcu has repeatedly stated that there were flaws in the Damascus regime’s declarations.

Ⓒ AFP – Gal ROMA – | Location of the alleged chemical attack in Duma and the Syrian military airport

Continued accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria led the OPCW in 2014 to establish its own fact-finding mission, which has investigated over 70 alleged cases of toxic gas use in this country since that date.

An alleged chemical attack in Duma, the last stronghold in the hands of rebels in the vast eastern Guta region, caused 48 deaths on Saturday, according to the White Helmets, a group of rescue workers in the rebel zone, and the NGO Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), although these claims could not be confirmed by an independent source.

Russian specialists who have investigated in Duma have found “no trace” of chemical substance, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday.

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