Chemical weapons watchdog suspends Syria’s rights

Bashar al-Assad regime uses chemical weapons in 2017, 2018, says Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Chemical weapons watchdog suspends Syria’s rights

Member states of the global chemical watchdog on Wednesday voted to suspend rights and privileges of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, including the right to vote at the organization.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) determined that the regime used chemical weapons in al-Lataminah in March 2017 and in Saraqib in February 2018.

The UK delegation to the OPCW said on Twitter that the decision on Syria was approved with 87 votes in favor at the 25th session of the Conference of the States Parties.

“Now up to #Syria to come back into compliance. Vital step to maintain the credibility of Chemical Weapons Convention,” the delegation added.

Delegations from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Czechia, Estonia, Slovenia also made statements on Twitter supporting the decision.

The decision stands out as the heaviest sanction the OPCW has ever imposed on a member state.

The OPCW, the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) based in The Hague, the Netherlands, with its 193-member states, oversees the global endeavor to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.

The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons was previously confirmed by UN investigators as well as the OPCW.

The regime’s use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is a violation of its obligations under the CWC, to which it is a party, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2118.