OPCW: Assad Regime Noncompliant with Chemical Weapons Convention, Raising Concerns

In a recent announcement by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), concerns have been raised over the Assad regime’s failure to uphold its commitments as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which it entered into in 2013.

During a session with the United Nations Security Council, Adedeji Ebo, the OPCW’s representative for disarmament affairs, revealed that the Assad regime’s compliance efforts have fallen short since the last engagement in February 2021. Despite assurances, the regime has neglected to provide the necessary “declarations or documentation” regarding its chemical weapons stockpiles and developmental initiatives.

Of particular concern is the activity of the Centre D’Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), or the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which has been operational since 1971. Ebo highlighted the presence of numerous “gaps, inconsistencies, and unresolved discrepancies” pertaining to this program.

According to a report by the Alma Research and Education Center, the CERS facility has been involved in the research and manufacture of chemical, biological, and potentially nuclear weapons. Alarmingly, there are indications that Iran, Iranian-backed militias, and Hezbollah might have gained access to CERS sites, potentially participating in the proliferation of chemical agents and weaponry.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. representative, stated, “Recent revelations indicate a calculated lack of intention by the regime to adhere to the CWC, with deliberate concealment of chemical weapons from OPCW oversight.” She further emphasized that the Assad regime’s repeated deception of international investigators, along with confirmed instances of chemical weapons deployment against its own citizens, undermine its credibility.

Nicolas de Rivière of France expressed grave concern over the regime’s use of chemical weapons on its own populace, branding such actions as both war crimes and crimes against humanity. He underscored the gravity of this situation for Syrians, the wider region, and the global community, cautioning against the potential for further crimes that could disrupt international order and security.

The Assad regime’s possession and potential utilization of chemical weapons pose a significant threat, not only to regional stability but also on a global scale. The unchecked availability of such armaments to actors such as Iran, Russia, and groups like Hezbollah necessitates immediate and rigorous international attention.


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