OPCW Team Arrives Safely Back in Damascus

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The team comprising experts and officials of the OPCW and the United Nations which came under attack yesterday has arrived back in Damascus. All members of the team are safe and well, although one driver has sustained minor injuries.

The team was en route to Kafr Zita as part of its mission to establish the facts surrounding allegations of use of chlorine in Syria. The visit was subject to a rigorous security assessment and a local ceasefire had been carefully negotiated for the day with the Government of Syria as well as with armed opposition groups in the area.

Shortly after leaving government-controlled territory, the lead vehicle in the convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) sustaining severe damage. The team members were rescued and shifted to two other vehicles in the convoy which turned back to move to a safer location. While entering a built-up area the convoy was ambushed; the first vehicle was shot at from close range with automatic weapons hitting the body, windows and tires.

The occupants of the two remaining vehicles, who were briefly detained by some gunmen, were later released upon the intervention of the main opposition group with whom the ceasefire and security arrangements had been negotiated. The reunited team then returned to Damascus via Homs under Syrian Government escort.

While the situation is assessed, the OPCW fact-finding mission will continue its work by closely monitoring the situation and using all possible means to gather information and data in order to establish the facts surrounding allegations of the use of chlorine in Syria.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü spoke to the Head of the Mission and the Team Leader in Damascus and praised the dedication and commitment of the OPCW and UN personnel, who showed great courage in undertaking such a high-risk mission.  The Director-General has strongly condemned yesterday’s attack and said that it was a sad day for the people of Syria, and for the international community, because of a blatant attempt to prevent the facts being brought to light. This will not, however, prevent the OPCW from raising its voice against the cruelty of use of toxic chemicals to kill and harm indiscriminately.


Categories: OPCW and the UN, Syria

For further information, please contact Michael Luhan, Head, OPCW Media & Public Affairs. Tel: + 31 (0) 70 416 3710 or +31 (0)6 5356 8512 or media@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

More news

H.E. Mr John Neary (Ireland)

H.E. Mr John Neary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ireland to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 1 October 2014.01 October 2014Full story

OPCW-UN Joint Mission Draws to a Close

The OPCW-UN Joint Mission on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons has completed its mandate and its operations drew to a close on 30 September 2014.  The Director-General praised the role played by the Joint...01 October 2014Full story

Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Visits the OPCW

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Gebran Bassil, visited the OPCW today and met with the Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü.  This was the first ever visit to the OPCW by a Lebanese...29 September 2014Full story

Second Meeting of Training Centres for Assistance and Protection Under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention Held in Bratislava, Slovakia

A second meeting of assistance and protection training centres for Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention took place from 23-24 September 2014 in Bratislava, Slovakia. This meeting was designed as a forum for discussion...29 September 2014Full story

Executive Council Discusses Findings of Fact-Finding Mission

In a meeting held today, the Executive Council discussed the second report of the Fact-Finding Mission issued on 10 September 2014.  The report concludes, with a high degree of confidence, that chlorine was used as a weapon...26 September 2014Full story

Education and Outreach Conference Hosted by the OPCW

The OPCW hosted an international conference on 22-23 September 2014, entitled Education for Peace: New Pathways for Securing Chemical Disarmament.  The conference brought together some 120 experts from government, science,...24 September 2014Full story

H.E. Mr Laurent Pic (France)

H.E. Mr Laurent Pic of France presented his credentials to the Director-General on 23 September 2014. 23 September 2014Full story

Third Assistance and Protection Training Course for Instructors from States Parties to the CWC in Africa

The third assistance-and-protection training course for instructors from States Parties to the CWC in Africa was been jointly organised in Tshwane by the Technical Secretariat and the South Africa Council for the...19 September 2014Full story

Course on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons Held in Finland

A basic training course on assistance and protection against chemical weapons was held at the Crisis Management Centre (CMC) in Kuopio, Finland from 8 to 12 September 2014 and attended by 18 participants from 16 State...16 September 2014Full story

International Training for National Authorities in Receiving CWC Inspections Held in The Hague

The OPCW and the National Authority of the Kingdom of The Netherlands co-organised a 4-day training course for personnel of National Authorities involved in receiving inspections under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which...16 September 2014Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1437
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>

OPCW news by e-mail

Subscribe

Are you subscribed already and wish to unsubscribe or update your profile?