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OPCW report confirms French "suspicions" on Syrian WMD use -- Official

PARIS, June 18 (KUNA) -- A senior French official said on Wednesday that a preliminary report by a UN agency on the use of chemical weapons in Syria confirms French "suspicions" that such weapons have been used several times these past months against the Syrian population.
The Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, has published a preliminary report on allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria long after Damascus agreed to dismantle its declared stockpile, which is almost completely demobilised.
But incidences of use of chlorine gas have been reported since the November agreement with the Syrian government. France says it is analysing its own samples obtained from Syria and that a sharing of information is underway with its international partners.
"A preliminary report made by the OPCW confirms our suspicions: chemical agents, including chlorine were used these past months on several occasions against the population in Syria," French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Romain Nadal said in a briefing.
"The investigations must be continued to bring irrefutable proof that the regime continues to use chemical weapons in violation of its international commitments," Nadal added.
Diplomats here outlined that the suspected uses in Syria these past months are difficult to trace because chlorine is a volatile substance and disappears quickly after use. Also, chlorine is used in industry and other sectors of the economy and this can make tracing it complicated because of potential contamination from civil sectors. (end) jk.ibi