A joint investigative mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is mandated to begin work in Syria only after the OPCW fact-finding mission confirms the use of chemical weapons in the province of Idlib, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.
"The fact-finding mission of the OPCW began looking into the incident that we saw, they are going in on with their work," Dujarric said. "The way that works is that once they are able to confirm that there has been use of chemical weapons than the UN-OPCW joint investigative mechanism kicks in."
On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said some 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib province, and blamed the Syrian army for the incident.
The Syrian foreign minister denied his government’s involvement in the Idlib incident, while the Syrian army said it does not possess chemical weapons.
The OPCW announced in January 2016 that it had destroyed Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal per an agreement of the Syrian government.
Dujarric said that the joint investigation mechanism, once it starts its work, will try to find the perpetrators of the attack, rather than establish what type of chemicals was used.