Mechanism set up to determine responsibility for chemical weapons use in Syria

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The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. File Photo: US Dept. of Transportation

A mechanism to determine who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria has been unanimously agreed by the UN Security Council.

A fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, said last December that chlorine gas had most likely been used as a weapon of war in the ongoing conflict in the country.

Daniel Dickinson reports.

The Syrian conflict is now in its fifth year.

There have been reports of the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by both sides.

The 15 Security Council members voted to establish a joint mechanism of the UN and OPCW for one year initially, which will be tasked with identifying who is responsible for using those weapons.

It is expected that the mechanism will be set up within the next three weeks.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said the chemical attacks had continued despite the Council's previous efforts to stop them. 

"……..Today's resolution has been adopted with the Council's unanimous support. This sends a clear and powerful message to all those involved in chemical weapons attacks in Syria: the joint investigative mechanism will identify you if you gas people.  It bears repeating as well that we need to bring the same unity that we have shown today to urgently find a political solution to the Syrian crisis." (23'')

Over 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the civil war in March 2011.

An estimated nine million Syrians have fled the country.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'14"

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