Western states have warned that Syria could be
violating a ban on chemical weapons, during a meeting of the
executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday.
Sabine Noelke, Canada's permanent representative to the OPCW, spoke of "growing evidence of deliberately false declarations by Syria, destruction of possible evidence, and the alarming likelihood that Syria continues to possess Schedule 1 chemicals."
Chemicals in this category include mustard gas and sarin gas. According to an OPCW report, traces of Schedule 1 substances were discovered in a research centre in Syria. An assessment team also "noted the absence of remnants of destroyed production equipment and chemical munitions," despite the Syrian government having promised to keep such evidence for future inspection, the report said.
OPCW Director General Fernando Arias told the executive council that Syria had refused entry to one OPCW inspector. Britain's OPCW envoy, Peter Wilson, slammed Syria's "completely unacceptable" behaviour. "Tragically the threat of chemical weapons use in Syria remains very real," he added.
Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 2013 and is obliged under the agreement to destroy its entire chemical weapons stockpile. However, there have been several attacks involving chemical weapons in the war-torn country since then, for which both the regime and rebel forces have been blamed. Syria is not a member of the OPCW's executive council.
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