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Moscow insists OPCW should check information on extremists’ use of chlorine in Syria

March 26, 2015, 17:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the Russian diplomat, accusations of pro-government forces using chlorine against civilians "based on some questionable publications" are groundless

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© AP Photo/United media office of Arbeen, File

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. Russia hopes that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will investigate alleged use of chlorine by terrorist organizations in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

Lukashevich reminded that the OPCW mission continues coordinating with Damascus on clarifying Syria’s compliance with the chemical weapons elimination program.

"Against this rather calm, reasonable and operational background, a number of member-countries of the OPCW Executive Council unfortunately made another demarche to official Damascus for its alleged non-compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention," the diplomat noted. "In particular, groundless accusations based on some questionable publications were voiced against pro-government forces in using chlorine against civilians, in this case in Syria’s Idlib province," he added.

"We hope that the OPCW mission on establishing instances of possible use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria will check this information in its work, along with information provided by Damascus in December last year on possible involvement in crimes with the use of chlorine of extremist and terrorist organizations operating in Syria," Lukashevich added.

"The same member-countries of the OPCW Executive Committee, which make unrestrained attacks on Damascus, fully ignore and deliberately hush up emerging evidence that extremist organizations, first of all the Islamic State, use chlorine in terrorism purposes in Syria and Iraq," the diplomat stressed. "We again have to note double standards here," he added.

Three out of 12 chemical weapon production facilities have been eliminated in Syria, Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW director general, told TASS on March 18. "There are 12 production facilities which need to be destroyed, three of them have already been destroyed," Uzumcu said. "The remaining nine will be destroyed in the coming months," he said, adding that the timeline would be clear later.

Uzumcu said that 98% of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile had already been destroyed. "The overall progress is quite satisfactory," he added.

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