Report: Chemical-Arms Inspectors Grill Syria on Stockpile Data

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 30, 2014, 7:06 a.m.

An en­voy said au­thor­it­ies traveled to Syr­ia to ad­dress in­con­sist­en­cies between an ini­tial run­down of its chem­ic­al arms and re­moved stocks, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The West­ern of­fi­cial said en­for­cers of an in­ter­na­tion­al chem­ic­al-arms ban began the vis­it last week, days be­fore their agency an­nounced it would look in­to claims that com­batants have em­ployed chlor­ine gas in the na­tion’s 3-year-old civil war.

Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment filed ad­di­tion­al de­tails earli­er this month on the chem­ic­al-war­fare in­vent­ory it re­por­ted last year to the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion for Chem­ic­al Weapons. The re­gime agreed to re­lin­quish the ma­ter­i­als last year, after sar­in nerve gas killed hun­dreds of people on the edge of the Syr­i­an cap­it­al and bolstered dis­cus­sion of a pos­sible for­eign mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion.

The anti-As­sad Syr­i­an Na­tion­al Co­ali­tion on Tues­day urged OP­CW in­vest­ig­at­ors to look for un­declared re­gime chem­ic­al arms, in ad­di­tion to ex­amin­ing the chlor­ine claims.

The co­ali­tion noted West­ern in­tel­li­gence in­dic­a­tions that As­sad may be con­ceal­ing war­fare chem­ic­als from in­ter­na­tion­al au­thor­it­ies. In­spect­ors should vis­it sites op­er­ated by the Syr­i­an Sci­entif­ic Stud­ies and Re­search Cen­ter, the rebel group ad­ded in an e-mailed state­ment.

An in­de­pend­ent study by the Lon­don Tele­graph links As­sad’s re­gime to the al­leged chlor­ine strikes, the news­pa­per re­por­ted on Tues­day. The gov­ern­ment is not re­quired to sur­render any chlor­ine un­der an in­ter­na­tion­al chem­ic­al-arms treaty it joined last year, though the pact pro­hib­its use of the tox­ic in­dus­tri­al ma­ter­i­al as a weapon.

Dam­as­cus has con­sist­ently blamed chem­ic­al at­tacks on its op­pon­ents.

Rus­sia, an ally of As­sad, on Wed­nes­day af­firmed the re­gime’s as­ser­tion that an al­leged April chlor­ine at­tack in the town of Kfar Zeita was the work of the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaida-af­fil­i­ated op­pos­i­tion group, IT­AR-Tass re­por­ted.

“We ex­pect that un­biased work of in­ter­na­tion­al ex­perts will make it pos­sible to find out what really happened and will ex­pose those re­spons­ible,” the Rus­si­an for­eign min­istry stated.

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