UN extends inquiry into toxic gas attacks in Syria
Russia had said it wanted the inquiry to be broadened to look more at the ‘terrorist chemical threat’ within the region
The United Nations Security Council approved on Thursday a one-year extension of an international inquiry to determine blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, paving the way for a showdown over how to punish those responsible.
Russia had said it wanted the inquiry to be broadened to look more at the “terrorist chemical threat” within the region, and the resolution to renew the mandate included language to reflect that request. The 15-member council unanimously adopted the US-drafted resolution.
The inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, set up by the council a year ago, has already found that Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that ISIS militants had used mustard gas.
Syria’s government has denied its forces had used chemical weapons during the country’s nearly six-year-old civil war. Last week, the OCPW’s executive body voted to condemn the use of banned toxic agents by the Syrian government and ISIS militants.
Chlorine’s use as a weapon is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in the resulting body fluids.