Chemical Weapons Watchdog Team in Syria Not Kidnapped and 'Safe'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A Syrian rebel commander said a team from the world's chemical weapons watchdog investigating an alleged chlorine attack against rebel-held Kafr Zita managed to visit the town Tuesday, hours after coming under attack.

Inspectors overseeing the dismantling of Syria's weapons program had been forced to return to their base after their convoy was attacked, but all were safe, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said.

"All team members are safe and well and heading back to their operating base," said Michael Luhan, spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Syrian foreign ministry reported earlier that six investigators had been kidnapped with their Syrian drivers while on a fact-finding mission in the central province of Hama.

The team had been investigating allegations that Syrian government forces unleashed a chlorine attack on a rebel-held village in Hama province last month.

If confirmed, the attack would be in breach of Syria's commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The foreign ministry accused rebels of kidnapping the team, while opposition activists said the regime planted an explosive device under one of the vehicles to try to stop investigators from investigating the alleged use of chlorine.

OPCW director Ahmed Uzumcu urged all parties in the Syrian conflict to cooperate and ensure the weapons inspectors could do their job under difficult conditions.

"Our inspectors are in Syria to establish the facts in relation to persistent allegations of chlorine gas attacks," he said.

"Their safety is our primary concern, and it is imperative that all parties to the conflict grant them safe and secure access," Uzumcu said.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the OPCW team "arrived in Kafr Zita in the company of the Syrian Saiqa force, which is part of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army," said Colonel Mohammad al-Ali, general commander of the faction.

Amateur video distributed by activists showed two white U.N. vehicles parked in what appeared to be Kafr Zita, and opposition fighters meeting with a member of the delegation.

The visit to Kafr Zita was aimed at investigating allegations that Syrian government forces unleashed a chlorine attack on the town last month.

If confirmed, the attack would be in breach of Syria's commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Syrian government signed the convention last year as part of a Russian- and U.S.-brokered deal under which it pledged to destroy all of its chemical arsenal.

Syria was not required to declare its stockpile of chlorine -- a toxic but weak agent -- as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

But its use for military purposes would still be a breach of Damascus's undertakings under the convention.

Activists and doctors have also alleged the use of chlorine gas as a weapon targeting rebel-held areas in Idlib province, in northwestern Syria.

Comments 12
Thumb eagledawn 27 May 2014, 13:48

The regime was planning to terminate the observers and blame it on the rebels. The OPCW called their bluff.

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 15:40

thank god we have an elite team of coffee-cup readers here, to tell us all the secret stories behind the scenes.

Thumb Mystic 27 May 2014, 16:49

Haha, good to see you back my friend. Long time no see, yeah you will never miss the various conspiracy theories of these "American lawmakers"

Thumb Mystic 27 May 2014, 17:02

Taqiyya? I doubt you even know what it means, you Pakistani living in the US. Use some original insults, not just cedres garbage.

Thumb eagledawn 27 May 2014, 17:31

mowaten iraní says " thank god we have an elite team of coffee-cup readers here, to tell us all the secret stories behind the scenes."

I never heard an atheist say "thank god" before ever in my life:))??

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 18:25

anonyme: basically the syrian government thought they were kidnapped and made their conclusion too fast. from this to your conspiracy theory there is a huge leap, that only willingly deluded people will make.
regarding crusher, the account i was using lately, it was banned by naharnet for no good reason. apparently they believe that it's more politically correct to spread sectarian hatred and disinformation than to fight it.
and finally, stop using propaganda keywords outside of their contect. "taqqiya" is a muslim concept that allows people to hide their faith if they are at risk of being killed for it.

eagledown: go take a hike, i already told you i wont waste time on your trolling.

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 18:26

*context

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 19:58

dont you have anything AT ALL to say on the debate? it's been months now that you and eagledown have been stuck on that! seriously guys, try harder, this is pathetic!
i said a million times, if anyone hasn't seen it yet, "crusher" was created out of a joke with Roar, and i simply decided to use it instead of "mowaten", and i say it clearly it was me. what deception do you see here? changing a username and saying it is deception? grow up man, and either answer the points or be like eagledown: a troll who has absolutely nothing of value to bring to the conversation.

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 21:31

"...its mission which is to find proof that Bashar forces used Chlorine gas against Rebel held areas"
OR proof that the rebels used it themselves! you jump to conclusions just our of your bias!
Syria gave up its entire chemical arsenal, to avoid giving a pretext for a foreign aggression, and now just like, while they are winning and rebels are desperate for foreign support/intervention, the SAA would use chemical weapons? even a child with mental disabilities would know better.

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 21:33

you can hate the Syrians as much as you want it's your opinion and you're free to have it, but thinking they are fools makes you appear very naive.

Thumb .mowaten. 27 May 2014, 19:59

*i SAID it clearly it was me

Thumb liberty 28 May 2014, 06:13

The king of fake accounts, the king of hate and sectarianism, is saying it again.