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Russia, China Want UN to Focus on Use of Poison Gas in Syria

There were reports from Aleppo of atleast two people being exposed to chemical weapons used by militants.

Published
World
2 min read
In this image posted on the Twitter page of Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Friday, 1 April 2016, when they attacked al-Ais in Aleppo province, Syria. (Photo: AP)

Russia and China want the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to demand that states report when militants are developing chemical weapons in Syria. Some diplomats have, however, dismissed the move on Wednesday as a bid to distract from accusations the Syrian government uses such arms.

Russia and China circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member body which Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said could serve as a deterrent to “terrorist” groups such as Islamic State from using chemical weapons.

We do not do any work on the possibility of terrorists actually preparing to build a chemical weapon. The draft resolution ... is a fairly simple one, it is filling this gap which we have detected. Recently we have had numerous reports of terrorist groups in Syria and neighbouring Iraq using chemical weapons.
Vitaly Churkin, Russian UN Ambassador
Vitaly Churkin, Russian permanent representative to the UN, during a Security Council emergency meeting at UN headquarters in New York, 16 October 2015. (Photo: Xinhua/IANS)
Vitaly Churkin, Russian permanent representative to the UN, during a Security Council emergency meeting at UN headquarters in New York, 16 October 2015. (Photo: Xinhua/IANS)

Islamic State militants are believed to be responsible for sulfur mustard gas attacks in Syria and Iraq in 2015, the United States has said. Russia has also said it sees a high probability that Islamic State is using chemical weapons.

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Chemical Weapons Used in Aleppo

A confidential report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concluded that at least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard in Marea, north of Aleppo, in August.

In this image posted on the Twitter page of Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Friday, 1 April 2016, when they attacked al-Ais in Aleppo province, Syria. (Photo: AP)
In this image posted on the Twitter page of Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Friday, 1 April 2016, when they attacked al-Ais in Aleppo province, Syria. (Photo: AP)

The draft resolution would demand that:

States, particularly those neighbouring Syria, shall immediately report any actions by non-State actors to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer, or use chemical weapons and their means of delivery to the Security Council.

Some council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the draft resolution was a ploy by Russia to divert attention from allegations that the Syrian government continued to use chemical weapons. Churkin denied it was a distraction.

Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Moscow and Washington but the OPCW has since found chlorine has been “systematically and repeatedly” used as a weapon. Government and opposition forces have denied using chlorine.

Also read: Paris Attack: French Govt Mass Producing Chemical Weapons Antidote

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