The Syrian regime has yet to fulfill its pledge to disclose to the UN's chemical weapons watchdog the scope and activities of its chemical program, a senior UN official warned Tuesday, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
The last round of consultations between the regime and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) declaration assessment team was in February 2021, and subsequent efforts to organize an additional round of talks have been unsuccessful.
The regime pledged last year to hand over information on its chemical program to the OPCW, but Adedeji Ebo, the UN's deputy to the high representative for disarmament affairs, told the UN Security Council that the UN has "yet to receive from the Syrian Arab Republic any declarations or document requested."
That includes an explanation of its activities at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, an organization accused of leading the regime's development of non-conventional weapons, and a declaration of nerve agents at another site that the regime denies produces chemical weapons, said Ebo.
"Full cooperation by the Syrian Arab Republic with the OPCW technical secretariat is essential in closing all outstanding issues, considering the identified gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies that remain unresolved at this time," he added.
"The OPCW technical secretariat assesses that the declaration submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic still cannot be considered accurate and complete in conduct in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)," stated Ebo.
Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Moscow and Washington, which came two months after a chemical attack on an opposition-held Damascus suburb killed hundreds of victims. The UN concluded in 2014 that the attack involved the use of the nerve agent sarin.
Since then, the OPCW has concluded several times that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels trying to oust the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.
Earlier this year, the OPCW produced a detailed report following a fact-finding mission that investigated a 2018 attack on the town of Douma, in which 43 people were killed. The report found that the Syrian air force dropped two cylinders of chlorine gas in 2018 on the town.
Syria regularly denies having any connection to chemical weapons attacks in Syria and has rejected past OPCW investigations into its chemical attacks as “fabricated”.
The OPCW has several times released reports finding that chemical weapons were used on civilians in Syria. However, it did not explicitly say those attacks were carried out by the Assad regime until a report released in April of 2020.