Chemical weapons in Syria: who is guilty
Against the background of many complex events occurring in the Middle East, the West continues to regularly accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own population. And this is taking place in spite of the well-known fact that the process of chemical demilitarization of Syria has been actually completed, and all chemical weapons have been removed from the country long ago. It is worth mentioning in this regard that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has admitted that not more that one percent of toxic substances removed from Syria is yet to be destroyed at a commercial facility in the United States. As for the Syrian chemical weapons production facilities, it has been confirmed that 11 of the 12 sites have already been destroyed, and the remaining one is not accessible for the Government because of the current situation on the ground.
Despite this, our Western partners keep claiming that the Syrian government has initially submitted an incomplete declaration of the existing chemical weapons. However, they forget to mention that Damascus has agreed, as a gesture of goodwill, to establish a special OPCW mission for the verification of its initial declaration, although according to the Chemical Weapons Convention they were not obliged to do so. This mission is still working, and final conclusions have not yet been made.
However, there is a real concern that, according to available data, the terrorist group “Islamic State” has acquired access to technologies for chemical weapons production, the relevant documentation and production facilities. There have already been reported numerous chemical weapons attacks by ISIS militants in both Syria and Iraq. Moreover, there is evidence of them using not only chlorine but “real” chemical weapons – mustard gas and possibly lewisite, the production of which, by the way, requires rather sophisticated technologies.
In these circumstances, it is extremely important that the mandate of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria investigating possible use of toxic chemicals be extended to the territory of Iraq. A few weeks ago the Russian side prepared and introduced a UNSC draft resolution for this matter. Unfortunately, despite our repeated and persistent attempts the Security Council so far has failed to respond to those facts, primarily because of the position of our Western partners. In this regard, one can only wonder the logic of the West, which declares its willingness to combat ISIS, but at the same time does not bother to raise a finger to prevent this group from developing and using prohibited weapons.