EU condemns Syrian regime for 'gaps' in reporting chemical weapons
Associated Press reports that the EU condemned the Syrian government for "gaps and contradictions" in its statements about its stores and usage of chemical weapons.
Jaek Bylica, the EU Principal Adviser and Special Envoy for Non-proliferation and Disarmament, said that the vague and sometimes contradicting statements from the Syrian government, "make it impossible to have confidence that its chemical weapons program has been irreversibly dismantled."
The OPCW is reviewing the declaration of chemical weapons made by the Syrian government in 2013. The Syrian government declared 1,300 tons of chemical weapons to OPCW in the wake of a deadly chemical attack in Damascus. While 99 percent of the declared chemical weapons have been destroyed, it is unknown if the Syrian government was accurate in their initial declaration.
According to AP, Bylica said that in secret EU meetings, members were shown "alarming findings" by the OPCW declaration review team, saying that in five of the team's reports on Syria, "more new questions arose than found satisfactory answers."
The UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague are working on a joint investigation into chemical attacks on civilians in Syria. There have been reports of mustard gas and white phosphorus attacks on villages - though it is unclear what group is responsible for the attacks.
There is concern that undeclared chemical weapons may have fallen into the hands of Daesh or other extremist groups. The joint investigation intends to issue a preliminary report in February.
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