Tag Archives: chemical weapons

EU condemns Syria use of chemical weapons

9/4/2020 “Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on the release of the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team
The European Union welcomes the release of the first report of the Investigation and Identification Team to the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and to the Secretary General of the United Nations on 8 April 2020.

“We fully support the report’s findings and note with great concern its conclusions. The European Union strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force as concluded by the report. Those identified responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable for these reprehensible acts.

Accountability is essential to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons by anyone – be it a State or a non-State actor – anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances is a violation of international law and can amount to the most serious of international crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Impunity for these horrible acts will not be tolerated. It is now up to the International Community to duly consider the report and take appropriate action. The European Union, consistent with its own commitment to the Partnership against impunity of the use of chemical weapons, is determined to ensure that this clear violation of the core principles of the Convention receives the strongest possible response from the Chemical Weapons Convention’s States Parties.

The European Union has previously imposed restrictive measures on high-level Syrian officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons and is ready to consider introducing further measures as appropriate.

The European Union is a steadfast supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a key instrument of international arms control and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The European Union is committed, at the highest level, to supporting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in its efforts to implement the decision of States Parties, in June 2018, to put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The European Union reiterates its full support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and underlines the complementarity of its work with the United Nations. We have full confidence in the objectivity, impartiality and independence of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat and its Investigation and Identification Team”.

Three GRU officers under EU sanctions

The Council imposed  sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.

These designations include the two GRU  officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018. Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

EU condemns “chemical attack” in Douma

“The European Union reiterates its strongest condemnation of the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, as confirmed by the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and as reported continuously in recent months in Eastern Ghouta and other areas in Syria, including the most recent reports of a devastating chemical attack on Douma” – declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU on strikes in Syria.

“In this context, the EU was informed about targeted US, French and UK airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities in Syria, these specific measures having been taken with the sole objective to prevent further use of chemical weapons and chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian regime to kill its own people.”

“The EU is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chemical weapons. It finds it deeply shocking that the international community is still confronted with the use of chemical weapons, as confirmed by the OPCW Fact Finding Mission. The reports of the Declaration Assessment Team show that the Syrian declaration cannot be fully verified as accurate and complete in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

“Accountability is a must. The use of chemical weapons or chemical substances as weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Perpetrators will be held accountable for this violation of international law. Therefore, the EU deeply regrets that the mandate of the JIM, established by UNSC Resolution 2235 (2015) to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks, has not been renewed in November 2017. In this respect, it is highly regrettable that the UN Security Council has so far failed to adopt a strong resolution re-establishing an independent attribution mechanism to ensure accountability for perpetrators of chemical weapons’ attacks in Syria.”

“In July 2017 and in March 2018, the EU imposed additional restrictive measures on Syrian high-level officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons and is always ready to consider imposing further measures as appropriate.”

“The EU calls upon all countries, notably Russia and Iran, to use their influence to prevent any further use of chemical weapons, notably by the Syrian regime, and supports the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.”

“The EU reiterates that there can be no other solution to the Syrian conflict than political. We have a common goal in preventing any escalation of violence that could transform the Syrian crisis into a wider regional confrontation, with incalculable consequences for the Middle East and indeed the whole world. The EU calls upon all parties to the conflict, especially the regime and its allies, to implement immediately the ceasefire, and to ensure humanitarian access and medical evacuations as unanimously agreed in UNSC Resolution 2401. The EU repeats that any sustainable solution to the conflict requires a genuine political transition in line with UNSCR 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communique negotiated by the Syrian parties within the UN-led Geneva process.”

“The Second Brussels Conference on Syria which will be held on 24-25 April 2018, co-chaired by the EU and the UN, will be the opportunity for the entire international community to relaunch its consistent support for the political process and commit new pledges to help the main victims of this ongoing conflict, namely the Syrian people inside and outside Syria.”

US strikes Syria without UN mandate

The images have emerged on social media showing the presumed results of the strikes of Damascus by the US, and allies.

Syrian state TV reported that Syria’s missile defenses shot down 13 missiles south of the capital.

The Chairman of the United States Army Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, however, said he was not aware that any missiles were intercepted, adding that the military has yet to assess the operational data. General also confirmed that manned aircraft were involved in the airstrikes that hit three facilities in Syria that the US claims are part of its chemical weapons program, RT reports.

Washington and its allies unleashed the bombardment in the early hours of Saturday, April 14, in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack by the Assad government in the town of Douma, 10 kilometers from Damascus, last week.

The strikes were conducted before a team of investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was due to reach Douma to determine whether the attack had indeed taken place.

Damascus explosion

Moscow denounces Ghouta ‘chemical attack’ as a fake

During press-briefing  in Russian Ministry of Defence Gen.Igor Konashenkov claimed no traces of so-called “chemical attack’ in Eastern Ghouta have been found. Analysing data from different sources, including research made on presumed site of the attack, the Ministry concluded the footage was a fake, and the entire episode a ‘provocation‘.




“Since the beginning of the humanitarian operation in Eastern Ghouta terrorists have not been able to organize any of so-called “chemical attacks” against civilians. Therefore on April 7 they made, probably,  the last attempt to fabricate false evidence of the alleged use of toxic substances by the Syrian authorities” – Konashenkov continued.

“Acting solely in the ranks of the terrorist offensive “White Helmets” once again imitated before cameras staging “chemical attack” on civilians in the city Douma” – he said.

In period from 3 to 6 of April,  the representatives of so-called “White Helmets” were under powerful pressure from London to speed-up with realisation of the provocation, – Konashenkov stated. (See Tweet of Defence Ministry above).

Further General recalled that since 2013, representatives of this “pseudo-organization”, together with terrorists, have rehearsed such a “drama” in various regions of Syria, abusing even children, including infants.

“I want to emphasize that on April 9, a day after the supposedly occurring chemical attack in Douma, Russian military specialists in the field of radiation, chemical and biological defense, as well as military physicians arrived directly to the site of the alleged incident” – Konashenkov informed.

“Specialists of the NCB protection took samples of soil, collected fragments from the so-called site of alleged “use” of chemical weapons. Their expertise was carried out, which showed the absence of nerve agents and chlorine-containing poisonous substances.”

“As a result of an examination of the territory, and a visit to the medical institution shown on the “White Helmets” footage, the interviews with the medical staff and the patients, neither of the facts of the use of poisonous substances nor the injured among the inhabitants of this city were found”.

“Doctors of this institution, representatives of the local population, as well as the militants leaving the Duma, do not even know about the existence of any victims as a result of the use of chemical weapons”.

During the visit of the only local hospital in Douma, military doctors of the Center for reconciliation have been examining the patients; but no victims with symptoms of poisoning substances such as sarin and chlorine were admitted to the medical institution and did not apply.

Also, the bodies of victims of allegedly passed away from the effects of poisonous substances were not found. The medical staff and local residents do not have any information about the possible places of their burial.

In this regard, the statements made today in Geneva by the representative of the World Health Organization, Australian Peter Salama, about allegedly 500 victims of toxic substances in the Douma, are of  “grave concern” – the General said.

In order to locate the alleged victims of chemical attack, the Defence Ministry contacted representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent and the local office of the UN coordinator in Syria, who are actively participating in the humanitarian operation in East Ghouta.

“No data, voiced by the representative of the World Health Organization, none of them have” Konashenkov pointed out.

“If representatives of the World Health Organization  really want to understand the situation, we invite them to Eastern Ghouta and are ready to provide security and all necessary conditions for work” – Konashenkov concluded with an invitation.

“During humanitarian operation, illegal armed groups acting in Eastern Ghouta, undertook several attempts to organize provocations with alleged use of toxic substances to accuse of Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons”Konashenkov claimed.

“The Syrian government has deployed large-scale work to restore civilian infrastructure in Eastern Ghouta” – Gen. Igor Konashenkov said. In general, he situation there has been ” completely stabilized”, he concluded.

Refugees are continuously returning to settlements, and about 60 thousand people have returned to their homes, Konashenkov said.

Merkel rejects military action against Assad

Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed Germany’s position on Syria crisis, explaining that Germany stood ready to assist its allies, but  militarily.

Twice during a press conference on Thursday  (12/04/2018)  Merkel said that Germany’s military “will not participate in possible military actions” in Syria, but she underlined that Berlin supported the need to “send a clear signal that the use of chemical weapons” is unacceptable.

“Just doing nothing at all is also difficult,” the chancellor said, adding that if the US, the UK and France were to take military action, Germany would seek an assistance in nonmilitary actions.

Non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.



Syria denies use of chemical weapons

“We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was any use of chemical weapons,” Syria’s Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari told reporters, while discussing the mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which  is on its way to Syria. It will begin work on Saturday, according to OPCW spokesperson.

The OPCW engaged two separate groups who are expected to arrive on 12 and 13 of April to Damascus.

Previously Al-Jafari claimed toxic agents, used during the military conflict in Syria, have been illegally brought into the country from Libya with the assistance of the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United States, Turkey and France, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari  said.



Russia points at insurgents “derailing” peace process in Syria

Threatening Syria with the use of force blatantly violates the United Nations Charter, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

“The threat to use force against a UN member state is, in itself, a blatant violation of the organization’s charter,” she underlined. “This is the organization the US ambassador to the United Nations has been so active in, thus confirming its legitimacy,” Zakharova added.

“Given the statements we’ve been hearing from the US ambassador, we would like to have an answer to the following question: Will a threat to use force against a sovereign state be legitimate? To say nothing of how far Syria has come in the fight against international terrorism, struggling to protect its sovereignty,” Zakharova continued.

Radical insurgent groups are determined to derail the peace process in Syria and are prepared to resort to extreme measures, she pointed out.



Russia: UK is “beneficiary” of Skripals provocation

Moscow does not have any doubts the UK and the US took synchronized actions against Russia in the situation unfolding around the #Skripals poisoning case, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, according to TASS News Agency.

“We realize the strength of the pressure that London and Washington and we don’t have any doubts now they synchronized their actions in the NATO and EU formats subjected their partners to,” she said. “We do understand how inhumane that pressure was, as they exploited the principles of solidarity and implementation of a unified foreign policy course” – Russian diplomat said.

London and Washington are the beneficiaries of this provocation, and the expulsion of diplomats that followed it,” Zakharova added.


EU sceptic about new anti-Russian measures

Britain and America have failed to win immediate support from European allies for new sanctions on Russia following the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, propelled the idea a G7 meeting of foreign ministers of punitive measures against Moscow, but could not win the backing he expected from Germany, Italy, and some other members European Union.

British officials insisted that targeted sanctions are still on the table, but that moving forward with them would have to wait for a full investigation  into an attack in Idlib, claimed to be ‘chemical’.

The Russian President announced that Russia will officially turn to the UN in the Hague for an investigation of the chemical weapons’ use in Idlib.  Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province.


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