OPCW says gaps in Syria’s chemical weapons declaration

OPCW says gaps in Syria’s chemical weapons declaration
2 min read
03 August, 2018
Syria's government has been accused repeatedly of using chemical weapons in the seven-year civil war, which it denies.
Syria has been accused repeatedly of using chemical weapons in the seven-year civil war [Getty]

The international chemical weapons watchdog says there are still gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons, and the number of issues needing a response has increased.

The latest report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was discussed behind closed doors Thursday by the UN Security Council.

The report said the Syrian government has remained engaged with the OPCW, but the information it has provided has not resolved the issues.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated in a letter transmitting the report to the council that all open issues in the declaration must be resolved.

He strongly encouraged the Syrian government to do so.

Syria has been accused repeatedly of using chemical weapons in the seven-year civil war, which it denies.

After hundreds of people were killed in chemical attacks near Damascus in August 2013, a landmark deal with Russia was struck to rid Syria of its chemical weapons stash, staving off US airstrikes.

Despite the deal, last month the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that its fact-finding mission in Syia found "sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in the south of Ltamenah" in Hama province on 24 March and that chlorine was very likely used a day later at and near Ltamenah Hospital.

And in April a suspected chlorine and sarin attack in the Syrian town of Douma on 7 April left at least 49 people dead.

The OPCW is due to soon release a fact-finding report into the suspected Douma attack, which triggered a wave of punitive missile strikes against alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria by the United States, Britain and France.