A number of reports released in recent weeks by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have revealed growing concerns about non-declared chemical weapons (CW) activities in Syria, raising the prospect that Syria might be hiding illicit CW capabilities in violation of its accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Further, the international team from the OPCW-United Nations (UN) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) yesterday released the findings of its year-long investigation into nine confirmed cases of CW use in Syria during 2014 and 2015. The international community raised serious concerns about gaps in the official Syrian declaration to the OPCW as early as the fall of 2013—prompting the establishment of the OPCW’s Declaration Assessment Team (DAT), which has made more than 15 visits to Syria, interviewed numerous members of the Syrian CW program, and undertaken extensive technical analysis of various types. Unfortunately, the gaps and discrepancies have only widened during this process.
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