New chemical weapons team to launch first Syria investigations
July 10 2019 06:30 PM
Labels of  OPCW are seen inside a damaged house in Douma in Damascus, Syria
Labels of OPCW are seen inside a damaged house in Douma in Damascus, Syria. Apri 25, 2018 file picture

Reuters/The Hague

* New identification to investigate nine attack sites
* Team formed in 2018 is opposed by Russia, Syria

A new team established by the global chemical weapons watchdog to attribute blame for the use of banned munitions in Syria will investigate nine alleged attacks during the country's civil war, including in the town of Douma, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created in 1997 as a technical body to enforce a global non-proliferation treaty. It had until now only been authorised to say whether chemical attacks occurred, not who perpetrated them.
Last June, the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) was established by the OPCW's member states during a special session, a move that has brought deeper political division to the UN -back agency. Now it has identified the locations of its first investigations to be conducted in the coming three years.
The British-led proposal creating the 10-member team was supported by the United States and European Union, but opposed by Russia, Iran, Syria and their allies. 



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