Syria Refuses Access to Chemical Weapons Investigators, Watchdog Says

The new investigation team was formed after Russia vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of the JIM in November 2017

Reuters
Reuters
File Photo: Syrian President Bashar Assad speak during meeting with heads of local councils from all Syrian provinces, in Damascus, Syria, February 17, 2018.
File Photo: Syrian President Bashar Assad speak during meeting with heads of local councils from all Syrian provinces, in Damascus, Syria, February 17, 2018.Credit: AP
Reuters
Reuters

Syrian officials have refused access to a newly-created chemical weapons investigation team formed to identify culprits behind attacks with banned munitions, the organisation's top official said in remarks published on Wednesday.

Member countries of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted last year to create the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), a decision that was opposed by Damascus and its ally Russia.

"Syria refuses to recognise the decision and to deal with any of its subsequent implications and effects," OPCW head Fernando Arias told member states.

He said Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad, had informed the OPCW in writing of the decision not to issue travel visas to members of the investigation team.

"Additionally, I received two letters dated 9 May and 14 May from the vice-minister, informing of Syria's objection to grant the newly appointed members of the IIT access to any confidential information concerning the Syrian chemical dossier" Arias said.

With 193 member states, the OPCW, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, is the U.N.-supported global body established to rid the world of chemcial weapons.

Syria joined the OPCW in 2013, agreeing to give weapons inspectors access, in a move that averted air strikes threatened by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

A joint United Nations-OPCW investigation team (JIM) concluded that Syrian forces used banned nerve agent sarin and chlorine barrel bombs, while militants with Islamic State had used mustard gas.

The new investigation team was formed after Russia vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of the JIM in November 2017.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews