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Syria denies possession of chemical weapons

BEIRUT |, with agencies - September 22, 2014, 10h42
The Syrian regime released a statement Sunday denying possession of a chemical arsenal claiming all chemical weapons had been handed over in line with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In response to accusations by US Secretary of State last week that the Syrian regime had carried out several chlorine gas attacks, Damascus said Sunday that it had turned over its entire chemical weapons arsenal.

“Syria has fulfilled its obligations by adhering to the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the foreign ministry said in a statement published by state media. “It cooperated fully with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and no longer possesses these weapons,” it added.

Syria was not required to declare any chlorine stockpiles, but the toxic agent can be considered a chemical weapon if used offensively, violating the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The OPCW has reported “compelling confirmation” that a toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly” as a weapon in northern Syria earlier this year and that it had a “high degree of confidence” that the chemical in question was chlorine.

Syria’s government has always denied responsibility for the August 2013 Sarin chemical weapons attack, which caused outcry and threats of airstrikes from the international community, temporarily appeased by the chemical disarmament agreement.

At the time, the Syrian regime accused rebels of carrying out the attack to spur international intervention. Sunday the foreign ministry warned of a similar “conspiracy.”

“Syria warns against the possibility of a conspiracy against Syria by regional and Western parties to provide terrorist groups with chemical weapons to be used against our people,” it said.

Washington is now weighing air strikes inside Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group as part of a coalition effort. Syria has said any unilateral military action against jihadists on its territory would be a violation of its sovereignty.
#John_Kerry, #chemical_weapons, #Syria
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