Syria Unveils Four More Chemical Weapon Facilities

Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad / AP

Syria declared four new chemical facilities that were previously not disclosed to inspectors who were promised a full declaration of Syria's chemical weapons, the Associated Press reports.

Syria has declared four chemical weapons facilities it hadn't mentioned before, a special representative of the U.N. secretary-general told the Security Council on Tuesday. The news heightened concerns that the Syrian government hasn't been fully open about its chemical weapons program.

Diplomats said Sigrid Kaag told them during closed consultations that three of the facilities are for research and development and one is for production, and that no new chemical agents have been associated with the four sites.

The new information confirms suspicions that Syria has not been honest about its chemical weapon stockpiles, even as the dismantling of those capabilities is expected to begin this month.

The joint U.N.-OPCW mission has said all 1,300 tons of declared chemical weapons have been removed, and attention now turns to destroying Syria's chemical weapon facilities.

Concerns remain that Syria has not made a full declaration of its chemical weapons. The United States has said it is worried that the Islamic State group, which has seized large parts of Syria, and other terrorist groups could get hold of chemical weapons if Syria is hiding any stockpiles.

The OPCW has said the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons facilities is expected to begin this month, and the first of the 12 facilities should be destroyed by the end of November. The global chemical weapons watchdog also has said it is still working with the government to resolve discrepancies in its chemical weapons declaration.