Declaration Assessment Team

Mandate   

The DAT’s mandate is to verify whether declarations submitted by the Syrian Arab Republic are accurate and complete, as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention, relevant decisions of the OPCW policy-making organs and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118(2013).  

Establishment and composition  

The DAT is a multi-disciplinary team composed of experts from the OPCW Technical Secretariat. It was established by the Director-General in April 2014, to engage with relevant authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic on gaps, inconsistencies, and discrepancies identified by the Technical Secretariat in the Syrian initial declaration (2013) of its chemical weapons programme. The DAT regularly reports to the OPCW Member States and other international bodies. 

Key findings  

As a result of the DAT’s ongoing activities, the Syrian Arab Republic declared or otherwise acknowledged: 

  • one additional chemical weapons production facility; 

  • four additional research and development facilities; 

  • research of five previously undeclared chemical warfare agents; 

  • several thousand previously undeclared chemical munitions; 

  • significant amounts of previously undeclared chemical weapons agents; 

  • consumption of large quantities of chemical warfare agent precursors and munitions in chemical weapons testing activities.  

In addition to this, previously undeclared equipment and other items were found by the DAT between 2015 and 2021 and verifiably destroyed. In the regular course of its work, the DAT has also gathered additional information regarding all aspects of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.  

Methodology   

The DAT’s scope of activities is very broad as it covers over four decades of chemical weapons related activities, conducted at dozens of locations in the Syrian Arab Republic. The DAT conducts its work through technical meetings with experts from the Syrian National Authority, visits to chemical weapons related sites, including collection and analysis of samples, interviews with personnel directly or indirectly involved with the Syrian chemical weapons programme, as well as analysis of information gathered by the DAT through its activities (i.e. declarations, documents, audio/video material) or otherwise acquired from other available sources. So far, the DAT has undertaken 25 visits to Syria and has performed various activities to resolve identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the Syrian declaration about its chemical weapons programme, including:  

  • holding more than 150 technical meetings; 

  • conducting more than 70 interviews with people involved in the Syrian chemical weapons programme;  

  • conducting more than 40 visits to chemical weapons sites and facilities in Syria; 

  • collecting more than 160 samples; 

  • obtaining more than 100 related documents from the Syrian Arab Republic; 

  • holding regular briefings and submitting reports to the OPCW Member States.  

Current state of play and future activities  

To date, the DAT has held 24 rounds of consultations with the Syrian Arab Republic, during which 24 issues regarding Syria’s declaration were raised. Four issues are now resolved and 20 remain open. In January 2023, after almost two years and numerous unsuccessful attempts to organise the 25th round of consultations between the DAT and Syrian National Authority, the Secretariat deployed a reduced team composed of several members of the DAT to the Syrian Arab Republic to conduct Limited In-Country Activities (LICA). The outcomes of this limited deployment will be reported to Member States in due course.