Rebels slam Nobel Peace Prize for OPCW as "gift to Assad"
Syrian opposition groups and activists on Friday condemned a decision by the Nobel Prize Committee to present the peace prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Al Arabiya reports that one activist described the move as an "award" to the Syrian president.
The OPCW’s inspectors are currently in Syria supervising the chemical weapon’s disarmament, following a U.S.-Russian deal to dismantle the stockpile after a sarin gas strike killed hundreds in the suburbs of Damascus last month.
“I would have thought that 2013 would have been a year for soul searching at OPCW, not accolades," Nadim Houry, director of Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying in Beirut.
The OPCW won the $1.25 million prestigious award on Friday and will be presented to the recipients in Oslo on Dec. 10, reported Reuters news agency.
"They are insulting the martyrs, intentional humiliation of the victims," an activist who tweets as "Shami Witness" said, according to The Telegraph. "This is an award to Assad and Putin."
The Nobel Prize committee said OPCW had won the award for its past work, not just because of the recent project to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program.
However, its chairman, Thorbjørn Jagland, added: "Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons," according to The Telegraph.