U.S. official says use of chemical weapons is ‘routine’ in Syria

Reuters reports: Recent attacks with chlorine and mustard gas on the battlefield in Syria show that the use chemical weapons in the civil war is becoming routine, a U.S. official said on Monday.

A confidential report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Oct. 29 provided the first official confirmation of use of sulphur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas, in Syria since it agreed to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, two years ago.

While the OPCW did not specifically say which of the many sides in the war used the chemical, diplomatic sources said it had been used in clashes between Islamic State and rebel fighters in the town of Marea in August, as well as in rebel-held areas under attack by Syrian government forces.

That raised the possibility, diplomatic sources said, that Islamic State had gained the ability to make it themselves, or that it may have come from an undeclared stockpile.

“The sad reality is that chemical weapons use is becoming routine in the Syrian civil war,” Rafael Foley, representing the United States, told a special session of the OPCW’s Executive Council, in remarks sent to Reuters. [Continue reading…]

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