The UN question the chemical weapons disarmament in Syria

Protester wearing the Syrian flag Protester wearing the Syrian flag Photo by Saleem Homsi on Albumarium

05 January 2021

The United Nations challenges the validity of Syria’s declaration about its chemical weapons due to unresolved discrepancies

During an online briefing to the United Nations Security Council, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, stated that the declaration by the Syrian Arab Republic about the status of its chemical weapons, submitted to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Assessment Team, cannot be considered accurate due to the perseverance of nineteen “outstanding issues” which raise suspects about the declaration’s veracity. One main issue concerns a chemical weapons production facility that, according to data gathered by the fact-finding mission on the use of chemical weapons, has been a site for production and weaponization, contrary to what has been declared by the Syrian national authorities.

The Syrian civil war has been the stage of countless atrocities. The Arms Control Association has reported that around 500.000 people have been killed since the beginning of the war, while more than ten million have been displaced. The use of chemical weapons by the regime has been a major concern which has prompted the intervention of the international community as their use, production and stockpiling is prohibited under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Despite Syria being a party to the Convention, the Assad regime employed chemical weapons already in 2012, triggering the OPCW operations to oversee the destruction of such weapons in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2118.

Because of the discrepancies between Syria’s declaration and the report of the fact-finding commission, Ms. Nakamitsu has declared that the United Nations cannot be confident about Syria’s elimination of its chemical weapons program. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the OPCW’s deployments to Syria even though the activities of its Technical Secretariat have continued. In the briefing’s conclusion, Ms. Nakamitsu condemned once again the use of chemical weapons, declaring that such actions cannot remain unpunished, as under no circumstances their employment can be justified.

 

To know more please visit:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1081412

https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2018-09-23/what-you-need-know-about-chemical-weapons-use-syria

https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2118.pdf

 

Author: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Francesca Mencuccini

 

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