Syria: Chemical weapons pose unacceptable threat, and are a ‘danger to us all’

Buildings destroyed in Aleppo city, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used. (file)
© UNICEF/Ninja Charbonneau
Buildings destroyed in Aleppo city, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used. (file)
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Speaking on behalf of High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu, her deputy, Adedeji Ebo, said that “the absence of accountability” for the previous use of chemical weapons by combatants in Syria’s long-running civil war, “is a threat to international peace and security and a danger to us all”. 

“It is, therefore, imperative to hold accountable all those who would dare to use chemical weapons”, he continued. “As we start the new year, I state my sincere hope that members of this Council will unite on this issue”. 


No movement  

UNODA has been in regular contact with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on resolution 2118, which mandates the Syrian Government to destroy any chemical weapons it possesses. 

All outstanding issues “have not progressed” since the Council last met on the matter, said Mr. Ebo, adding that “all efforts by the OPCW Technical Secretariat to organize the next round of consultations…continue to be unsuccessful”.  

“Full cooperation by the Syrian Arab Republic with the OPCW Technical Secretariat is essential to closing all outstanding issues”, he underscored.  

No response, no compliance 

The UN official informed the Council that Syria has yet to provide an explanation regarding the unauthorized movement of two cylinders that were related to a 2018 chemical weapon incident in Douma.  

He also pointed out that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission from 6 to 12 November, “remains in the process of studying all available information related to allegations of chemical weapons use” in the country.  

Turning to the 2021 decision from the UN-backed international organization investigating chemical weapons use, entitled Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic”, Mr. Ebo was informed that Syria has “not yet completed any of the measures stipulated” in a decision from the previous year. 

It requests that within a specified time frame that the country: declare the facilities where the chemical weapons used in March 2017 attacks were developed, produced, stockpiled, and operationally stored for delivery; the chemical weapons it currently possesses; and resolve all of the outstanding issues regarding its initial declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile and programme. 

“The OPCW Technical Secretariat will continue to engage with the Syrian Arab Republic with regard to their completion and will continue to report to the OPCW Executive Council as mandated”, concluded the UNODA Deputy High Representative. 

Click here to watch the meeting in its entirety. 

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