The United States has called on the Assad government to cooperate with the OPCW


The United States has called on the Assad government to cooperate with the OPCW and abandon its chemical weapons program.

A group of 46 countries asked at a meeting on Monday to support the sanctions included in a text presented by France, which reiterates the responsibility of the Arab country in the use of this type of weapon.

The US State Department urged the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad to "cooperate" with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), "renounce" its program in this matter, and "destroy" its arsenal.

The State Department reported this in a statement in which it stated that it "welcomes" the OPCW's decision to suspend some of Syria's rights and privileges within the organization.

The usage of chemical weapons by any state is an unacceptable security threat to all states. As has been shown, the international community will continue to be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons, for which there are no exceptions.

The OPCW's decision came about a week after the agency accused Syria of a February 2018 chemical weapons attack in the city of Saraqib.

The 46-nation group called for support for sanctions in a text presented by France at the OPCW meeting on Monday, reiterating that the parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention As such, they have a collective responsibility.

The sanctions, which required the support of a two-thirds majority of the 193 member countries, passed with  87 votes in favor, 15 against, and 34 abstentions, out of 136 countries present, and involve the suspension of the rights and privileges of Damascus in the OPCW until it surrenders its entire chemical arsenal, so the organization turns for the first time in its history to the most important sanctions tool at its disposal.

The OPCW, which precisely supervised the elimination of the chemical arsenal in Syria with the conflict already started, concluded that there are "reasonable indications" to think that on February 4, 2018, at 9:22 p.m., a Syrian Air Force helicopter launched "at least one cylinder" with chlorine gas over Saraqib.

With the document released this Monday, there are already two reports prepared by an OPCW team whose main task is to point out the possible perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and which applies on the ground the expansion of the organization's mandate, which initially lacked the power to distribute blame.

In their first report, published in 2020 and on events that occurred in March 2017 in the Hama region, the experts also concluded that the Bashar Al-Assad regime had used prohibited chemical weapons, specifically sarin gas and chlorine.

For its part, the Syrian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the OPCW's decision, calling it "aggressive."