The United Nations is providing its peace-keepers in the Syrian Golan Height with kits to protect them from chemical weapons that could be used in the Syrian conflict, a U.N. official told reporters on Monday.
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said U.N. forces were having an “increasing difficulty in fulfilling its mandate under very serious security conditions.” He told reporters that his department has taken measures to enhance their safety.
“We have redeployed to the area of UNDOF a number of armed vehicles that were with other Missions in the region,” Ladsous said.
He recalled that recent attacks on UNDOF forces resulted in five injuries, two of them seriously, noting there some members were also detained. Ladsous said “the multiplication of incidents is of great concern.”
The UNDOF chief also admitted that the United Nations continues to make contingency plans for the deployment of a U.N. force to Syria, “based on a number of possible scenarios,” but did not elaborate any further.
“We don't have the means to verify. But we do notice that a number of countries are referring to that possibility, and safety and security being the priority concern for us, for me, we don't want to take a risk,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said.
This comes after the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, told the Security Council on Dec. 8 that opposition fighters could use chemical weapons and blame the act on the Syrian government.
“We have repeatedly stated publicly and through diplomatic channels that Syria will not under any circumstances use any chemical weapons that it may have,” Jaafari said in a statement.
The Syrian ambassador cited Turkish newspaper ‘Yurt’, which reported that “al-Qaeda members are producing chemical weapons in a laboratory near the Turkish city of Gaziantep that they are threatening to use against Syrian civilians.”
The U.N. envoy emphasized Syria’s serious concern that certain countries, which are supporting the Syrian opposition forces, may provide “the armed terrorist groups” with chemical weapons. He added that those aforementioned states will then accuse the Syrian government of utilizing the forbidden arms.