World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. admitted Friday that a UN-led mission to remove all chemical weapons from Syria was not completely successful.
"We obviously didn't remove all their capacity to create chemical weapons," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing.
"It's not a complete victory in this case, but it's a significant one nonetheless in that they're less able to use these against their own people."
The statement came after Toner was grilled by reporters about why he would describe the implementation of UN Resolution 2235 -- drafted by U.S. and Russia -- as victorious if there was still continued use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) was set up by the UN Security Council in August 2015 to identify those responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
Toner first said the deal focused only on declared chemical weapons and that it was "successfully implemented with the Russians" when the JIM took away all of the other neutralized chemical weapons possessed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Although about 1,200 tons of declared chemical weapons were removed, according to JIM reports, the regime developed its stocks of chlorine into new chemical weapons and is still using it against civilians.
Residents of Aleppo were targeted by chlorine gas explosives on Sept. 6, just days before a U.S.-Russian cease-fire deal went into effect for the area.
In a written statement earlier Friday, Toner said all who are confirmed to have been involved in the use of chemical weapons in Syria must be held accountable.
His comments followed a fourth report from JIM a day earlier that said three of four chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 were conducted by the Syrian regime and one carried out by Daesh.
Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow was not convinced with the findings.