Chemical watchdog chief expresses confidence in Douma report

International

FILE – This Friday May 5, 2017 file photo shows the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, Netherlands. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General Fernando Arias has expressed confidence in a report on Monday Nov. 25, 2019, into a deadly attack in Syria last year that has been called into question by a leaked letter. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has expressed confidence in a report into a deadly attack in Syria last year that has been called into question by a leaked letter.

Fernando Arias used his opening statement to the Conference of the States Parties on Monday to publicly support the report issued in March by an OPCW fact-finding mission that found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma.

The U.S., Britain and France blamed Syria and launched punitive airstrikes. Syria denied responsibility.

A letter purportedly by a member of the OPCW team and released by secret-spilling website WikiLeaks called its conclusions biased.

Arias says: “I stand by the impartial and professional conclusions reached by the fact-finding mission.”

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