UN Security Council extends inquiry into chemical attacks 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 Security Council has extended, for an additional year, 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 conflict. 

Unanimously adopting resolution 2319 (2016), the 15-member Council also recalled its decision that Syria “shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or, transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to other States or non-State actors.” 

Further in the resolution, the Security Council encouraged the Mechanism to engage with relevant regional States in pursuit of its mandate, including to identify any involvement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), the Al-Nusra Front or other non-State actors in the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria.

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.

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