Syrian Regime Files More Specifics on Chemical-Arms Stocks

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 17, 2014, 8:40 a.m.

Syr­ia sup­plied an in­ter­na­tion­al watch­dog with more chem­ic­al-arms in­vent­ory data after mon­it­ors found in­ac­curacies in an earli­er de­clar­a­tion, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment pledged to sur­render its chem­ic­al-war­fare ma­ter­i­als amid ac­cus­a­tions that it used sar­in nerve agent in a large-scale as­sault on the edge of Dam­as­cus last Au­gust. The re­gime offered a run­down of its ar­sen­al to the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons last year, but gov­ern­ments since then have high­lighted con­cerns over in­con­sist­en­cies between that fil­ing and as­sets later found in­side the con­flict-torn coun­try, the wire ser­vice re­por­ted on Thursday.

In­siders said the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s ini­tial de­clar­a­tion in­cluded only ap­prox­im­ate quant­it­ies of the war­fare chem­ic­als in stor­age at in­stall­a­tions across the Middle East­ern na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to one en­voy, “dis­crep­an­cies” emerged between num­bers in that doc­u­ment and amounts seen by aud­it­ors for a U.N.-OP­CW over­sight op­er­a­tion.

Mi­chael Luhan, a spokes­man for the glob­al chem­ic­al-weapons agency, veri­fied that the As­sad re­gime had sub­mit­ted ad­di­tion­al in­form­a­tion on its ar­sen­al.

“For some of the stock­pile, ranges of quant­it­ies had been provided. Now they are be­ing re­placed with spe­cif­ic amounts,” he said.

Luhan said the more ex­act quant­it­ies be­came known as in­ter­na­tion­al of­fi­cials re­viewed the ma­ter­i­als and pre­pared them for ship­ment to a coastal pickup point. For­eign cargo ves­sels are trans­port­ing the ma­ter­i­als from Syr­ia’s Latakia sea­port to in­ter­na­tion­al de­struc­tion sites.

The spokes­man said the latest fil­ing in­cludes no ma­ter­i­als that pre­vi­ously went un­re­por­ted. Last year, Dam­as­cus in­dic­ated it held about 1,300 met­ric tons of chem­ic­al-war­fare agents and in­gredi­ents.

One OP­CW in­sider down­played the new doc­u­ment’s sig­ni­fic­ance.

“Some­times in­form­a­tion is not com­plete, or not in a format we re­quire. It’s not ex­traordin­ary,” ac­cord­ing to the source. “But what they have sub­mit­ted needs to be seen to come to any con­clu­sions and I bet­ter not spec­u­late about what’s in there.”

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