The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced that Bashar Assad regime officials have refused access to chemical weapons investigation teams that were formed to identify the culprits behind attacks with banned weapons.
According to the SNHR report, access for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team was banned to cover up chemical weapon attacks perpetrated by regime.
Member countries of the OPCW voted last year to create the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), a decision that was opposed by Assad and his ally Russia. "Syria refuses to recognize the decision and to deal with any of its subsequent implications and effects," OPCW head Fernando Arias told member states, Reuters reported last week.
The report also said that the Assad regime deceived OPCW experts and did not fully fulfill its obligation regarding the agreement it signed in 2013, which envisaged handing over banned weapons.
It added that the regime has carried out 222 chemical attacks since 2012, and 1461 people have lost their lives in these attacks. With 193 member states, the OPCW, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, is the U.N.-supported global body established to rid the world of chemical weapons. The Assad regime joined the OPCW in 2013, agreeing to give weapons inspectors access, in a move that averted airstrikes threatened by the then-U.S. President Barack Obama.