Newscast Media THE HAGUE—Syria has completed the destruction of all of its
chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, the Organization for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Thursday.
The OPCW, on a joint mission in Syria with the United Nations, confirmed that Syria
had destroyed critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons production
facilities and plants.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the OPCW said Syria had met the deadline set by
the OPCW Executive Council to “complete as soon as possible and in any case not
later than November 1, 2013, the destruction of chemical weapons production
equipments, including mixing and filling equipment.”
A group of eight inspectors, who had been conducting verification work in Damascus
since Oct. 1, returned to the OPCW headquarters in The Hague.
The OPCW said it had inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared by Syria, and 39 of the
41 facilities located at those sites. The two remaining sites were too dangerous to
visit, but according to Syria, the chemical weapons equipment at these sites were
moved to other declared sites, which were inspected.
The next deadline is Nov. 15 when the UN Executive Council is to adopt a detailed
plan of destruction submitted by Syria to destroy the country’s more than 1,000 tons
of chemical weapons by mid-2014.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—International disarmament experts began on Wednesday
their mission to catalogue Syria’s chemical weapons under a deal that will see the
arms turned over for destruction by mid-2014.
The 19-member team from The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.
Along with 14 UN staffers, they are staying at a Damascus hotel. They set up a
logistics base after arriving, but did not appear to have left the hotel by early
“In the coming days, their efforts are expected to focus on verifying information
provided by the Syrian authorities and the initial planning phase of helping the
country destroy its chemical weapons production facilities,” a UN statement said.
This should be completed by November 1, it added. An OPCA official said, “We do not
doubt the information provided by the Syrian authorities.”
President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria will comply with the UNSC resolution as it
has already turned over, on September 19, documents detailing its chemical
On Tuesday, a team of UN experts left Damascus after probing seven alleged
chemical weapons attacks for a report expected to be released in late October.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media COPENHAGEN—Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Friday his country rejects any partial reports by the UN Secretariat before the completion of the mission of the UN chemical weapons investigation team, state-run SANA news agency reported.
The minister said so during a phone call with UN chief Ban Ki- moon on Friday, a day after the UN said the chemical investigators, currently operative on ground, would leave Syria on Saturday. Syria rejects any partial reports before the completion of the mission and the completion of the laboratorial tests of the samples assembled by the team, al-Moallem said.
According to SANA, the foreign minister asked Ban about the reasons behind the abruptness of the UN team’s mission, urging him to stick to even handedness. He also stressed that any aggression against Syria would “blow up all of the exerted efforts to politically solve the Syrian crisis.”
He further requested that the UN team should also investigate the sites where the government accused the rebels of using nerve agents against troops and civilians. The UN team did not investigate all reported instances of chemical weapons’ use, but its officials promised to return to Syria after submitting the result of their primary investigation.
The investigation team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, has been carrying out its work without incidents after a pause last Tuesday, when its convoy was attacked by snipers while heading to Damascus’ eastern suburb of Ghouta, where chemical weapons were allegedly used on Aug. 21.
The alleged incident opened the appetite of Washington to militarily intervene in Syria to “punish” President Bashar al- Assad even before the submission of the investigation’s results.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Carla Del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent
International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said testimonies from the victims strongly
suggest it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas in
the eastern Gouta.
The UN official told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions,” that the
rebels had used the nerve agent.
She added that her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces
using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she stressed more investigation
Damascus has repeatedly denied growing Western accusations that its forces used
such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring villages interviewing victims, doctors and
field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are
concrete suspicions of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,”
Ms. Del Ponte, a former Swiss prosecutor and attorney general, told Swiss TV.
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was established in
August 2011 to examine alleged violations of human rights in the Syrian crisis which
started in March that year.
Source: Al Manar TV News
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations told reporters on Tuesday that Syrian rebels had likely used sarin nerve gas in a deadly attack near Aleppo in March.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Russian specialists had analyzed soil samples taken from the site of the reported chemical attack in Khan al-Assal, and determined that the nerve agent sarin was used and that it was not “industrially manufactured.”
“There is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal,” Churkin said, adding that he had just handed over that report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The United States, however, contested the claim that Syrian opposition fighters had used sarin at any time during the two-year civil war.
“We have yet to see any evidence that backs up the assertion that anybody besides the Syrian government has had the ability to use chemical weapons or has used chemical weapons” in the war, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.
Syrian President “Bashar Assad called for a UN investigation into the use of chemical weapons and then he blocked the ability of the United Nations to conduct that investigation,” Carney continued.
“Assad should let the UN investigators in, and Russia should use its relationship with Assad to press Assad to allow the United Nations investigators in.”
Sarin, a colorless, odorless gas that causes respiratory arrest and death, has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN.
Source: RIA Novosti