Giving Syria 90 days to disclose chemical weapons facilities

The Organization for the Chemical Weapons Prohibition gave Syria, on Thursday, 90 days to announce "the facilities where the development, production, stockpiling, and delivery of the used chemical weapons took place on 24, 25 and 30 March 2017."

This came after a report by the investigators of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in April that two Syrian Air Force pilots had dropped with Sukhoi-22 aircrafts and a helicopter bombs containing toxic chlorine and sarin gas on the town of Latamna in Hama region in March 2017.

The Organization's Executive Entity condemned the Syrian air force's use of banned bombs containing sarin and chlorine, but it stopped short of taking direct action to punish it.

Damascus said that it had completely destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons it had disclosed to the organization, but the inspectors had found toxic materials and ammunition that had not been disclosed during the inspections.

Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013 to avoid a military action of which it had threatened the United States because of a previous chemical attack.

The Executive Council of the Organization for Chemical Weapons Prohibition which consists of 41 states adopted the decision of endorsing 29 countries, rejecting 3 and abstaining 9 in the voting.

A stronger response may be produced to Syria's violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Chemical Weapons of 1997 during the next meeting of all members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, known as the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty, which will be held in late November.

The Executive Council said: "The Council condemns the use of chemical weapons as mentioned in the report of the investigation team of the Organization for the Chemical Weapons Prohibition, which included sufficient evidence to believe that Syria used chemical weapons in Latamna, Syria, in March 2017."

The Council's decision added that this indicates that Syria "did not disclose and destroy all its chemical weapons and all its chemical weapons production facilities."

Syria and Russia, its military ally in the civil war, have repeatedly denied the use of chemical weapons in the conflict.

The Organization's Council said it "expresses deep concern that the Syrian Arab Republic has not cooperated with the investigation team."

If Damascus does not comply with the Organization's deadline, the organization can recommend that action be taken to limit Syria's membership rights to the Chemical Weapons Prohibition Organization during the Conference of the States Parties later this year, and the conference may in turn recommend that Syria be referred to the UN Security Council in this file.

D.H


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