Director-General circulates OPCW FFM Reports to States Parties

6 November 2015
OPCW Director-General H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü

OPCW Director-General H.E. Mr Ahmet Üzümcü

The Director-General has circulated to States Parties three reports submitted to him by the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM). The FFM had been tasked to look into three separate sets of incidents in which the use of toxic chemicals in the Syrian Arab Republic had been reported.

Based on information provided by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic that its soldiers had sustained casualties from the use of toxic chemicals, an FFM team conducted three deployments to Syria. This team has issued an interim report which details its analysis of an incident reported to have occurred in Jobar on 29 August. Based on the available evidence regarding this incident, the FFM could not confidently determine that a chemical was used as a weapon.

A second FFM team investigated allegations of use of toxic chemicals in the period of March – May 2015 in the Idlib Governorate of Syria that resulted in the death of six people. Based on the analysis of information and evidence available to it, the FFM concluded that the alleged incidents likely involved the use of one or more toxic chemicals—probably containing the element chlorine—as a weapon.

The OPCW FFM has also investigated an incident on 21 August in which a non-state actor had allegedly used a chemical weapon in the town of Marea, close to Aleppo. The FFM collected samples and interviewed two individuals affected by exposure, and treating medical staff. In this case, the team was able to confirm with the utmost confidence that at least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard and were in the process of recovering from the exposure. It is additionally very likely that the effects of sulfur mustard resulted in the death of a baby.

The FFM might conduct further deployments to look into any additional credible information made available by the Syrian government or others.

In accordance with the established practice, the Director-General will attach these FFM reports to his next monthly report to be submitted to the UN Security Council through the Secretary-General.

In response to allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria, the Director-General established the FFM on 29 April 2014. As a result of its first investigation, the FFM issued three reports in 2014 that concluded with a high degree of confidence that chlorine had been used in attacks on three villages in northern Syria.

The OPCW Executive Council and the United Nations Security Council have expressed support for the work of the FFM, and have called upon all relevant parties to extend their full cooperation to the Mission to ensure that it completes its work safely and effectively.