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The Latest: OPCW team analyzing samples from chemical attack

  • Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem listens during his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.   Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report  within about three weeks,  the British delegation to the commission said Thursday.  (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem listens during his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report within about three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.   Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report  within about three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report within about three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives for talks with Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017.  Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report  within about three weeks,  the British delegation to the commission said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives for talks with Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 13, 2017. Lavrov said he expected the OPCW ( Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons ) to conduct an extensive probe into the suspected nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, which could produce a report within about three weeks, the British delegation to the commission said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Syria (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

A British delegation at a behind-closed-doors meeting of the international chemical weapons watchdog says in a tweet that the organization's director general has said that its investigators already are testing samples from a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria's Idlib province.

The British delegation tweet says that Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told Thursday's hastily convened meeting of its executive council that the "Fact Finding Mission is working to gather evidence" about the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun that killed nearly 90 people.

It says that samples already are being tested and the mission is expected to report its findings in three weeks.

The OPCW's Fact Finding Mission in Syria investigates alleged attacks, but does not apportion blame.

12:50 p.m.

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U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces say they have entered the fourth stage of their campaign to capture the Islamic State group's de facto capital Raqqa with an advance on the militants in a valley north of the city.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, which include Arab fighters, say they are working to clear the militants out of the Jalab Valley, north of Raqqa. An estimated 300,000 people are in the city.

The SDF says it wants to isolate Raqqa before attacking it. Their closest position is within 8 kilometers (5 miles) northeast of the city. But the countryside south of Raqqa is still under IS control.

It is unclear how many stages are planned for the SDF campaign.