Tags: Middle East | North Korea | Syria | United Nations | chemical weapons | sarin gas | un

NYT: UN Report Links NKorea to Syria's Chemical Weapons

Image: NYT: UN Report Links NKorea to Syria's Chemical Weapons
Syria President Bashar Assad (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2018 05:58 PM

North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used to produce chemical weapons that President Bashar Assad has used in attacks as recently as this year, United Nations experts said Tuesday.

"The overarching message is that all member states have a duty and responsibility to abide by the sanctions that are in place," said Stéphane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman, The New York Times reports.

Dujarric was responding to questions about a 200-page report by eight experts who examined North Korea's compliance with United Nations sanctions.

The document said North Korea has been providing such materials as acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers.

The report has not been publicly released by was reviewed by the Times.

In addition, missile technicians from Pyongyang have been seen by UN investigators working at known chemical weapons and missile operations in Syria, the report disclosed.

The possible chemical weapons were part of at least 40 shipments by North Korea to Syria that had not been disclosed and had occurred between 2012 and 2017.

These materials were included in shipments of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials that could be used for military and civilian purposes, according to the report.

Neither the report’s authors nor members of the United Nations Security Council who have seen it would comment, as well as the United States' mission to the global agency.

"Though experts who viewed the report said the evidence it cited did not prove definitively that there was current, continuing collaboration between North Korea and Syria on chemical weapons, they said it did provide the most detailed account to date of efforts to circumvent sanctions intended to curtail the military advancement of both countries," the Times reports.

So far this year, Assad's forces have carried out several chlorine gas attacks in rebel-held areas in Ghouta, Idlib and Afrin, according to diplomats and witnesses.

In addition, a separate United Nations panel also said the government-backed military carried out an assault using sarin gas on the rebel-held village of Khan Sheikhoun last April that killed at least 83 people and sickened as many as 300.

According to the Times, the UN experts have been charged since 2010 by the agency's Security Council to investigate whether North Korea had been violating sanctions and to present its findings annually.

William Newcomb, who chaired the UN panel from 2011 to 2014, called the report "an important breakthrough."

Investigators have long suspected that Pyongyang has been involved in the Syrian civil war on Assad's behalf since it began in 2011.

The fears remained strong, even though Syria signed onto the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013 and claimed to give up its chemical weapons stocks.

"We knew stuff was going on," Newcomb told the Times. "We really wanted to up the game on chemical weapons programs, and we just weren’t able to get what we needed to do so."

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North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used to produce chemical weapons that President Bashar Assad has used in attacks as recently as this year, United Nations experts said Tuesday.
chemical weapons, sarin gas, un, bashar assad
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2018-58-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 05:58 PM
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