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

H.E. Mr András Kocsis (Hungary)

H.E. Mr András Kocsis, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 26 August 2016.26 August 2016Full story

Chemists Learn Peaceful Applications of Natural Product Chemistry

Seventeen chemists from three continents were given the opportunity to upgrade their skills in advanced analytical techniques of natural products in a course supported by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons...18 August 2016Full story

Delegation of Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ghana Visits the OPCW

The Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, met today with a delegation from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Republic of...15 August 2016Full story

Customs Training Institutions Engaged to Improve CWC Transfer Regime

From 26-28 July 2016, representatives of customs training institutions from member states of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) took part in a pilot training course on the transfer regime of the...05 August 2016Full story

Statement from the OPCW Director-General on Recent Media Reports of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

Recent media reports have highlighted the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria. These reports are of great concern. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) continues to examine any credible reports it...03 August 2016Full story

OPCW Capacity-Building Course Enhances National Implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention

Representatives of 42 National Authorities (NA) from across the globe made headways in enhancing their capacity for domestic implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), during a course held by the Organisation for...01 August 2016Full story

OPCW’s Flagship Capacity-Building Programme Gets Underway

The 17th edition of the OPCW Associate Programme was co-inaugurated today by The OPCW Deputy Director-General, Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, and H.E. Ambassador Christoph Israng, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of...29 July 2016Full story

OPCW Director-General Welcomes UN Security Council Resolution and OPCW Executive Council Decision; Pledges to Facilitate Verifiable Destruction of Libya’s Remaining Chemical Weapons

On 20 July, the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adopted a decision calling for necessary international assistance in response to the Libyan Government of National Accord’s...22 July 2016Full story

To Prevent Destruction of Humankind, Science and Diplomacy Must Work Together, Says OPCW Director-General

“At every stage along the long road to ridding the world of chemical weapons, scientists have been an indispensable partner of the OPCW”, said Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of...22 July 2016Full story

Scientists Are at the Frontline of Peace, Says OPCW Verification Director

“Under OPCW auspices, scientists are taking the lead in promoting science working in the service of peace and security,” said Mr Philippe Denier, Director of Verification Division of the Organisation for the Prohibition of...19 July 2016Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1663
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>