The head of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog said that attacks involving chlorine barrel bombs and deadly nerve agent sarin in Syria have continued despite the landmark agreement that won the group a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has questioned whether the Assad regime declared his entire arsenal.
Syrian “authorities have to explain in a plausible, technically plausible manner why the samples collected by our experts did prove the existence of certain chemicals which were never declared,” Uzumcu said in an interview with NBC News. “So they should explain why those chemicals were present in such places.”
According to Uzumcu, the use of sarin in February 2017 raised concerns that Syria might have kept certain banned substances despite Assad’s government saying it surrendered its stockpile of chemical agents in 2013. Syria could have also redeveloped or reacquired them.
“Many Western countries are worried that the Syrian government continues to possess some of the precursors of sarin,” he said.
A OPCW fact-finding mission on May 16 said that chlorine had been used by the Assad regime in an attack on the town of Saraqib in rural Idlib.
On February 4, the Assad regime launched a chlorine gas attack on the town of Saraqib, causing seven civilians to suffer from asphyxiation, according the White Helmets.
Most Western countries stressed that Assad’s forces are to blame for the chemical attack on the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in on April 7, which killed at least 78 civilians and injured hundreds more. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)