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Chemical weapons have been used in different conflicts. The UN has just discovered that fact.
Recently, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm at “the weakening taboo” against using chemical weapons in Syria, where the UN has been allegedly studying the matter. The Secretary General expressed his concern in a letter to the UN Security Council.
According to abcnews.go.com, the letter, transmitting the monthly report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said that the Secretary-General is gravely concerned that the use of chemical weapons could become “normalized in this or any conflict, present or future.” “It is imperative that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons should be held accountable,” Ban added.
The OPCW report covering the period from Sept. 23 to Oct. 22 said that its fact-finding mission is studying four widely reported allegations of chemical weapons use, and is investigating the alleged use of a chemical agent in Aleppo on Aug. 2 at the request of the Syrian government.
Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW Director-General, said the organization’s fact-finding mission continues studying all available information of alleged chemical weapons use “with a particular focus on widely reported incidents” in the Saraqib in Idlib governorate, and three incidents in the Aleppo governorate — in Aleppo city, Zubdiya, and Al Sukkari.
The organization has a mandate to carry out fact-finding missions to determine whether chemical attacks occurred in Syria, but not to determine responsibility.
In September 2014, the Security Council established an international body to assign blame for chemical attacks. That body, the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), has already determined that the Syrian government was behind three attacks involving chlorine gas and the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for one involving mustard gas.
Syria’s government has been repeatedly accused by the United States and other Western countries of using chemical weapons on its own people, even after the Security Council in 2013 ordered the elimination of its chemical weapons program following an attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of civilians.
Uzumcu said poor security has prevented the destruction of Syria’s remaining declared chemical weapons production facilities. He said questions also remain over its initial declaration of its chemical holdings.
Ban Ki-moon reiterated the need for the Syrian government and the OPCW “to work together to resolve all identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies”.