OPCW team to investigate Syria chlorine gas claims

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In this photo which AP obtained from the Syrian official news agency SANA, and has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, damages are seen after a series of mortar shells hit Damascus, killing more than a dozen people and wounding scores in Syria, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. The attacks in the Syrian capital came a day after President Bashar Assad announced his candidacy for the June 3 presidential election. (AP Photo/SANA)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The international chemical weapons watchdog says it will send a team to Syria to investigate recent allegations about the use of chlorine gas in the country's civil war.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Tuesday the Syrian government has agreed to the mission. The OPCW the team is expected to depart for Syria soon.

Syrian opposition forces have accused the government of attacking rebel-held areas with chlorine gas several times in recent months. Syria denies the allegations.

A joint U.N.-OPCW mission is already in the process of eliminating Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

While chlorine was first deployed militarily in World War I, it is no longer officially considered a warfare agent and was not among the chemicals declared by Syria when it joined the chemical weapons treaty.