“Considering that the gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies that remain unresolved, the declaration submitted by Syria nevertheless cannot be considered accurate and complete, said Fernando Arias, Director-General of this Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
‘Not possible’ to set weapons use
Updating the Council on recent activities, he said the Secretariat on 2 October published two reports on the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria, on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Aleppo in November 2018, and in Saraqib in August 2016.
The reports concluded that it wasn’t feasible for the Fact-Finding Mission to establish whether chemicals were used, or probably used, as a weapon in these events. It’s continuing to analyse information collected from its latest deployments in eight different cases.
During its installation, the Team gathered samples, confirmed the destruction of items previously observed as undestroyed, and discussed the present status of outstanding issues. The findings have been reported on the Executive Council in October.
Afterwards, he explained three issues relating to Syria’s initial declaration were shut, while 19 remained outstanding. One of these, pertains to a chemical weapons production facility announced by Syria rather than having been used for the creation of cells.
However, he stated an overview of all the information and materials accumulated by the Team since 2014, including samples, indicates that creation and/or weaponization of chemical warfare nerve agents happened at this centre.
The Secretariat therefore is asking Syria declare the specific types and quantities of chemical agents produced, and/or weaponized in the website in question, in accord with the Convention.
UN disarmament expert updates
Izumi Nakamitsu,High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said her Office on 2 December received advice from Syria on issues associated with chemical weapons, that it analyzed carefully and delivered to the OPCW Technical Secretariat.
Regarding the OPCW Executive Council decision on 24 July 2014, she stated the Technical Secretariat has kept distant monitoring systems in four underground structures in Syria.
It set to Syria between 15 and 18 November 2020 for its final visit to these constructions and observe the elimination of tracking equipment. Syria was informed that these regions should be sealed as part of a destruction program.