BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:40 P.M.) – The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a new report on Wednesday that accused the Syrian military of using chemical weapons inside the Hama Governorate in 2017.
“The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released today the findings of the first report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). The IIT is responsible for identifying the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic where the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) has determined that chemical weapons have been used or likely used in Syria,” they reported.
According to the report, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) allegedly used the chemical weapons in the town of Al-Latamnah, which is located just south of the administrative border of the Idlib Governorate. The town was a long-time stronghold of the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Jaysh Al-Izza faction.
The report reached the following conclusions:
“At approximately 6:00 on 24 March 2017, an Su-22 military airplane belonging to the 50th Brigade of the 22nd Air Division of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Shayrat airbase, dropped an M4000 aerial bomb containing sarin in southern Ltamenah, affecting at least 16 persons.
At approximately 15:00 on 25 March 2017, a helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Hama airbase, dropped a cylinder on the Ltamenah hospital; the cylinder broke into the hospital through its roof, ruptured, and released chlorine, affecting at least 30 persons.
At approximately 6:00 on 30 March 2017, an Su-22 military airplane belonging to the 50th Brigade of the 22nd Air Division of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Shayrat airbase, dropped an M4000 aerial bomb containing sarin in southern Ltamenah, affecting at least 60 persons.”
The report itself concluded that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the perpetrators of the use of sarin as a chemical weapon in Ltamenah on 24 and 30 March 2017, and the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon on 25 March 2017 were individuals belonging to the Syrian Arab Air Force. …”
“Attacks of such a strategic nature would have only taken place on the basis of orders from the higher authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic military command. Even if authority can be delegated, responsibility cannot. … In the end, the IIT was unable to identify any other plausible explanation,” they added.