UN Investigation Team Returns to The Hague from Syria

Monday, 02 September 2013

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü greets Dr Åke Sellström, head of the UN Inspection Team to Syria, upon the team's return to The Hague. Photo: Henry Arvidsson

The United Nations team investigating allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria has arrived on 31 August in The Hague, the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), after having completed their two week deployment in Syria.
 
The UN investigation team, consisting of nine OPCW, three WHO experts and led by Dr Åke Sellström reached Damascus on 18 August. As per the agreement reached between the UN and the Syrian authorities, they were to conduct investigations where chemical weapons had allegedly been used, including Khan Al-Asal.

While conducting planned activities, further allegations of the use of chemical weapons emerged after an attack in the suburbs of Damascus on 21 August. The UN Secretary-General asked the team to shift its focus on to the new allegations.

On 26 August the team convoy while crossing the buffer zone between government and opposition forces, en route to Al-Moadamiya town, where chemical weapons were alleged to have been used came under attack and two of the vehicles were damaged. The team changed one of the vehicles and continued with the mission. Team members visited hospitals, interviewed doctors and suspected victims of the alleged chemical weapons attack. This team, which included six OPCW experts, returned safely to its base that evening.

The OPCW Director-General condemned the attack, and called upon all concerned parties in Syria to respect the mandate of the team and to facilitate the conduct of its work in safe conditions. This was reiterated by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon and Director-General Üzümcü when they met in The Hague on 28 August 2013.

The team continued its investigations in the suburbs of Damascus through the week of 26 August visiting allegedly affected areas. They collected both environmental and biological samples.

The evidence collected by the team will now undergo laboratory analysis and technical evaluation according to the established and recognised procedures and standards. Every effort will be made to expedite this process. Their report will be submitted to the United Nations Secretary General by Dr Sellström.

The Chemical Weapons Convention adhered to by 189 countries of the world represents today a global norm with zero tolerance for chemical weapons. For States that are not Parties, procedures are provided under the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism to investigate allegations of use of chemical weapons. The present investigation in Syria is proceeding under this mechanism. The Convention and the related arrangements between the UN and the OPCW establish the basis for cooperation between the two Organisations recognising that the latter possesses the necessary expertise to investigate allegations of use.

The Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü has commended the members of the team upon on their arrival back in The Hague for their courage, professionalism and their commitment in carrying out their assigned duties in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. He also thanked the German government for providing an aircraft to transport the team to The Netherlands.


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

United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Visits OPCW

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 16 August 2018 — Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, met today with the Director-General of the...16 August 2018Full story

H.E. Mr Rigoberto Gauto Vielman (Paraguay)

H.E. Mr Rigoberto Gauto Vielman, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Paraguay to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 14 August 2018.14 August 2018Full story

OPCW Assists Guinea and Chad in Formulating Plans to Implement Chemical Weapons Convention

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands —7 August 2018—Guinea and Chad have made another step towards the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) by developing their national legislations, during the 19th edition of...07 August 2018Full story

United Kingdom Requests Extension of OPCW Technical Assistance for Amesbury, UK Incident

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—7 August 2018 — The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) received a request on 7 August from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) for the OPCW to extend its...07 August 2018Full story

H.E. Mr Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn (Switzerland)

H.E. Mr Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Permanent Representative of the Swiss Confederation to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 06 August, 2018.06 August 2018Full story

OPCW Launches 19th Edition of Associate Programme

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands —3 August 2018— The 19th annual Associate Programme was launched today at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Headquarters in The Hague. In his opening remarks, OPCW...03 August 2018Full story

Ambassador Fernando Arias Assumes Office as OPCW Director-General

THE HAGUE, Netherlands— 25 July 2018 —Ambassador Fernando Arias of Spain takes office today as the new Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), becoming the fourth person to hold this...25 July 2018Full story

Chemical Labs in Latin America and the Caribbean Prioritise Safety and Security

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands —25 July 2018— Chemistry professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean enhanced their understandings of safety and security in chemical laboratories, during a course held from 16 – 20 July in...25 July 2018Full story

National Authorities and Customs Authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean Want Closer Cooperation on Scheduled Chemicals

THE HAGUE, Netherlands —23 July 2018— National Authorities and customs administrations from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) discussed new approaches to strengthening coordination in implementing the transfer regime of...23 July 2018Full story

OPCW Director-General Bids Farewell to Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 July 2018 —The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, made a farewell call yesterday to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the...19 July 2018Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1947
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>