Syria chemical convoys attacked twice in January

Syria chemical convoys attacked twice in January
Sat Mar 1, 2014 12:38:07

Syrian convoys transporting chemical weapons under the international agreement have been attacked twice late last month, according to a UN report, causing a delay in chemical shipments out to sea.

In a monthly report to the UN Security Council, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that the Syrian authorities told their team overseeing the destruction of its arsenal that the attempted attacks took place on January 27.

"In addition, Syrian authorities indicated that ongoing military activities rendered two sites inaccessible during most of the reporting period," the five-page UN report said.

This caused the delay of "in-country destruction of the final quantities of isopropanol [one of two key ingredients for sarin gas production], preventing some activities to consolidate chemical material into a reduced number of locations, and preventing the physical verification of chemical material prior to movement on 27 January 2014."

“When we talk about transferring those weapons, we talk about hundreds of kilometers that should be passed in safe conditions,” Charles Shoebridge, former British intelligence officer told RT. “They’ve attacked weapons carriers and made transporting the chemicals even more difficult and dangerous.”

The report also said that the elimination of the chemical weapons program in Syria stands at a “critical juncture." It calls on Syria to “intensify and accelerate” its efforts to eliminate its stockpile, after falling behind on schedule. Syria denies in the very strongest terms that it is deliberately slowing things down and says foreign-backed militants try to hamper the move.

A look at the history of Syria since the formation of the United Nations, of which Syria is an establishing member, will recognize that Syria has always been committed to its vows,” Hassan Hassan, Syrian expert, told RT. “It has never given a promise without fulfilling it.”

The fourth shipment of mustard gas, left Latakia, Syria on Wednesday. Earlier in February the OPCW reported that Syria had shipped out only 11 percent of its stockpile, falling short of the February 5 deadline to have chemical stockpiles removed from the country.

Syria last week submitted a new 100-day plan to remove the remaining chemicals, which would have set a target of late May or early June for completion. The UN is considering the new timetable. Under the OPCW schedule, all Syria's declared chemical weapons must be destroyed by June 30.


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