Assad 'Systematically and Repeatedly' Attacked Northern Syria With Chlorine Gas

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The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has evidence of the use of chlorine gas in repeated attacks by the Assad regime forces in Syria. According to Reuters, the OPCW included the words "systematically and repeatedly" in its report.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said there had been a 'spate of new allegations' of chlorine attacks in August, after a reduction in reported attacks since May."

Specifically, the OPCW said it found “the descriptions, physical properties, behaviour of the gas, and signs and symptoms resulting from exposure, as well as the response of patients to the treatment, leads the FFM to conclude with a high degree of confidence that chlorine, either pure or in mixture, is the toxic chemical in question."

The evidence was found in the Northern Syrian villages of Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zeta, according to the group.

Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned the allegations earlier today during his visit to Baghdad:

This isn't the first time Assad has been accused of using chlorine bombs or the first time Assad has been implicated in chlorine attacks on the villages in question. As ABC noted:

Human Rights Watch said in May that it had strong evidence that in April this year Syrian army helicopters dropped bombs containing chlorine on the same rebel-held villages mentioned by the OPCW report."

The greater context of these findings—beyond last week's disclosure that Syria is still believed to have some of its chemical weapons left—is that President Obama is set to make a not-so-inconsequential speech later today in which he will outline ways to battle ISIS.

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As the United States moves to take action against ISIS amid heightened American fears, the consequence of a weakening of the radical Sunni Islamist group will be the strengthening of Syria's Bashar Assad, who has been engaged in a civil war that has killed nearly 200,000 people.

Last month, Obama administration officials ruled out coordinating its efforts to battle ISIS with Assad, who after seemingly turning the tide in the civil war, has lost ground to ISIS and other rebels groups over the course of the last several weeks.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.