The inspectors from the joint mission of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were on a fact-finding mission in the town of Kafr Zita in Hama Province when they were attacked, the OPCW said on Tuesday.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry had initially said that the team had been abducted by the foreign-backed militants. However, the OPCW, later issued a statement, saying all of its inspectors are “safe and well and are traveling back to the operating base.”
OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu later expressed concern over the security of the inspectors.
“Our inspectors are in Syria to establish the facts in relation to persistent allegations of chlorine gas attacks,” he said in a statement, adding, “Their safety is our primary concern, and it is imperative that all parties to the conflict grant them safe and secure access.”
A chlorine gas attack reportedly occurred in Kfar Zeita on April 12. Similar attacks have reportedly been occurred in other areas in Hama and Idlib provinces since April.
On April 23, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari rejected the allegation that chlorine gas has been used by government forces.
The accusation has been made by opposition groups as well as French officials without independent verification.
In late April, the joint UN-OPCW mission announced that the Syrian government has nearly completed surrendering its entire chemical weapons stockpile. The mission said Syria has removed and destroyed 92.5 percent of its chemical weapons.