Security Council extends mandate of UN-OPCW body on chemical weapons use in Syria

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UN investigation team takes samples from sand to test for a chemical attack in Syria. File photo

Geneva (UN) – The UN Security Council on Monday extended by just under three weeks the mandate of the United Nations- Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Investigative Mechanism, the body tasked with identifying those behind chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian civil war.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2314, the 15-member Council also condemned “again in strongest terms” any use of any toxic chemical as a weapon in Syria, and expressed alarm that civilians continued to be killed and injured because of such use in the war-torn country.

The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism has been extended until 18 November 2016, with possibility of further extension before its expiration.

Set up by the Council in 2015, the Mechanism was mandated to identify, to the greatest extent feasible, those involved in the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in Syria.

Earlier, a fact-finding mission mandated by the OPCW had determined that a specific incident in the Syrian conflict involved or likely involved the use of toxic chemicals as weapons.

Further in the statement, the Security Council underlined that the use of chemical weapons constituted a serious violation of international law.

It also stressed that individuals, entities, groups or governments responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

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