Syrian army denies using chlorine gas in attack near Damascus

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-02 03:31:49|Editor: ying
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DAMASCUS, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army denied using chlorine gas during battles in eastern Damascus on Saturday.

The army said reports circulated about an attack with chlorine gas on the rebels in the Ayn Tarma neighborhood in the eastern countryside of Damascus are mere lies.

This comes as activists reported that 30 people suffered suffocation after a Syrian army chlorine gas attack in Ayn Tarma.

"These lies are fabricated by the terrorist groups to justify their losses," the army said, adding that such blatant lies are exposed and cannot be believed.

The army stressed that Syria hasn't used chemical weapons before and it's now in no possession of such materials.

The Syrian government has warned that the rebels are preparing to stage chemical attacks to frame the Syrian army.

The chemical weapons' file was stirred last April when the United States and rebels accused the Syrian army of using nerve agent sarin in an attack on Khan Sheikhoun in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The alleged attack prompted a missile attack by the United States on a military base in central Syria.

Syria then denied the accusations made without investigations.

A day earlier, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in April on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun and was likely to have spread from a crater in a road.

The report also found that hexamine, a known component of the Syrian government's stockpiles, was contained in samples taken from the scene, as well as from the blood and urine of victims.

The OPCW said its mandate was solely to determine whether chemical weapons were used in the attack, as a UN investigative task force will attempt to determine who was responsible.

In response, Syria's Foreign Ministry on Saturday slammed the report as "far from logic" and "unacceptable."

Syria handed over its chemical stockpiles to the OPCW in 2013, when it joined the chemical weapons convention.