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 OPCW Public Affairs. +31 (0) 70 416 3242, public.affairs@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

Follow OPCW on Facebook and Twitter.

More news

His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and High Dignitaries to Attend OPCW 20th Anniversary Commemoration

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 March 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, is honoured to announce the attendance of His Majesty King...24 March 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Visits Singapore

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 23 March 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, paid an official visit to Singapore from 21 – 22 March. In his keynote...23 March 2017Full story

Improved Analytical Capability at the OPCW Laboratory Thanks to New NMR Equipment

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 17 March 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, yesterday inaugurated the new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)...17 March 2017Full story

Statement by Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü: Commemoration of the 1988 Halabja Chemical Weapons Attack

On 16 March, we remember the tragedy that befell the innocent citizens of Halabja. On this day 29 years ago, thousands suffered and perished in the unspeakable cruelty of a chemical weapons attack.  On behalf of the...16 March 2017Full story

H.E. Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarintr (Thailand)

H.E. Ms. Pornprapai Ganjanarintr, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Thailand to the OPCW, presented her credentials to the Director-General on 15 March 2017.15 March 2017Full story

OPCW Executive Council Condemns Chemical Weapons Use in Fatal Incident in Malaysia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 10 March 2017 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Executive Council (EC) adopted a decision yesterday expressing grave concern that, according to statements by the...10 March 2017Full story

Specialists from Asia Review New Approaches to Chemical Risk Assessment and Reduction

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 9 March 2017 — Experts from Member States of the OPCW in Asia discussed and analysed the latest trends in chemical safety and security at the Fifth Seminar on Chemical Safety and Security Management, held...09 March 2017Full story

Experts from Africa Contribute to OPCW’s Repository of Chemical Safety and Security Best Practices

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 9 March 2017 — A group of specialists shared chemical safety and security management needs and best practices during a regional workshop in Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon, from 27 February – 1 March.09 March 2017Full story

H.E. Mr Lok Bahadur Thapa (Nepal)

H.E. Mr Lok Bahadur Thapa, Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 7 March 2017.07 March 2017Full story

Statement from the OPCW Spokesperson on Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use in Mosul, Iraq

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 5 March 2017 — In response to allegations of chemical weapon use in Mosul, Iraq, the Spokesperson for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) stated, “The OPCW is seriously...05 March 2017Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1732
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>