New OPCW Team to Launch First Syria Investigations
A new team established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to attribute blame for the use of banned munitions in Syria will investigate nine attacks that took place in over the past several years, including in the town of Douma.
The new team will focus on sites of chemical attacks where culprits have not yet been identified by the United Nations-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). The attacks took place between 2014 and 2018.
The JIM concluded in a series of reports that the Assad regime used both nerve agent sarin and chlorine as weapons, while the ISIS extremist group used sulphur mustard gas on the battlefield.
The OPCW concluded in a March 1 report that a chemical weapons attack occurred in Douma, most likely with chlorine. It did not assign blame. However, other monitoring groups confirmed that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack which claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, including children and women.
“This adds to the growing evidence of deliberately false declarations by Syria, destruction of possible evidence, and the alarming likelihood that Syria continues to possess” banned chemical agents, Canada’s ambassador to the OPCW, Sabine Nolke, told delegates attending meetings at the OPCW in The Hague this week.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the need to bring all those responsible for these attacks before the International Criminal Court, stressing that orders for the use of the chemical weapons in Syria were coming from the highest echelons of the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Reuters)