Russia blocks Syria chemical weapons use accountability

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IslamNews – The United States accused Syrian President Bashar Assad and his close ally Russia on Thursday of trying to block all efforts to hold Damascus accountable for using chemical weapons during attacks on civilians.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.N. Security Council that “the Assad regime has tried to avoid accountability by obstructing independent investigations and undermining the role and work of the OPCW,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which is the international chemical weapons watchdog.

She accused Russia of defending Assad “despite its chemical weapons attacks,” obstructing independent investigations, and undermining efforts to hold the Syrian government accountable not only for using chemical weapons but for “numerous other atrocities.”

OPCW investigators blamed three chemical attacks in 2017 on Assad’s government in April 2020. The OPCW Executive Council responded by demanding that Syria provide details. When it didn’t, France submitted a draft measure on behalf of 46 countries in November to suspend Syria’s “rights and privileges” in the global watchdog which means it would lose its vote. It will be considered at the April meeting of the OPCW’s 193 member states.

U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the council that issues related to Syria’s declaration “remain outstanding” including a chemical weapons production facility that the Syrian government declared “as never having been used for the production of chemical weapons.”

Source: AP