World, Americas, Middle East

Gaps in Syria's chemical weapons declaration: Watchdog

UN secretary-general expresses concern over failure of Syrian regime to fully cooperate with OPCW

03.08.2018
Gaps in Syria's chemical weapons declaration: Watchdog

Washington DC

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Thursday there are still gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the Syrian regime's declaration of its chemical weapons.

In its latest report covering the June 23 to July 23 period, the international chemical weapons watchdog said although the Bashar al-Assad regime has remained engaged with the OPCW, the information it has provided has not resolved the issues.

In April of this year, the European Union, U.S. and other countries called on the organization to investigate allegations that the regime had launched chemical attacks against civilians in Syria.

The U.S. government has confirmed that at least 1,400 people were killed in chemical weapons attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013.

Additionally, Assad regime forces struck targets in the Damascus suburb in April of this year, allegedly using poisonous gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to the White Helmets, a local civil defense agency.

The regime denied the allegations, however, claiming that it had destroyed all its chemical weapons in 2013.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu confirmed in the report that its inspectors had verified the destruction of the last two of 27 chemical weapons production facilities declared by Syria.

He said the two facilities were destroyed in June, and on July 12, the OPCW "conducted inspections at both sites and verified that all declared buildings had been razed to ground level and all debris removed".

Citing the OPCW's report, however, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the failure of the Syrian regime to fully cooperate with the organization.

"I note with continuing regret that the OPCW remains unable to resolve all identified gaps, inconsistencies or discrepancies," he noted, urging the regime to extend its full cooperation to the OPCW to resolve the issues.

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