France accuses man of funneling ingredients for chemical weapons to Syria

French investigators say they have detained a man suspected of supplying authorities in Syria with materials that can be used in the production of chemical weapons.

The dual French-Syrian national was arrested in the south of France while vacationing with his family and is being held on preliminary charges of complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity, a French judicial official says. The official speaks on condition of anonymity to discuss the probe covered by legal confidentiality rules.

International investigators have blamed Syrian government forces for using toxic gas and nerve agents in the country’s decade-long civil war. In April, member states of the global chemical weapons watchdog suspended Syria’s voting rights at the organization as a punishment for the repeated use of toxic gas by Damascus.

The man detained in France is suspected of having used a transport company in France and the United Arab Emirates to supply materials to Syria in violation of an international embargo. The man was handed preliminary charges on Saturday and is being held in custody, the judicial official said.

Illustrative: This photo provided Tuesday, April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, shows victims of a suspected chemical attack, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. (Edlib Media Center, via AP)

The name of the man and his company weren’t given. The judicial official didn’t provide details about the materials he is suspected of transporting.

Earlier this month, a Washington Post report claimed that Israeli planes had bombed Syrian facilities where they suspected chemical weapons were being made or precursors stockpiled on two occasions in the last two years.

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