On 21 September, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that it had received an initial inventory from the Syrian Government of its chemical weapons programme, noting that the Organization’s technical secretariat had undertaken a review of the information received. OPCW also said that its State parties continue to consult on the text of the draft decision on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Addressing the General Assembly General Debate on 24 September, the Secretary-General urged the Syrian Government to fully and quickly honour the obligations it has assumed by acceding to the Chemical Weapons Convention. He also appealed to Member States to “stop fuelling the bloodshed and to end the arms flows to all parties” in the conflict.
On the political process, the Secretary-General stressed the need to build on the current diplomatic momentum to bring the parties to the negotiating table and to make the Geneva II conference happen. “I have been consistently saying that military victory is an illusion. The only answer is a political settlement”, he said.
Meanwhile, the team of chemical weapons inspectors led by Professor Sellström arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, 25 September to complete its fact-finding activities for all pending credible allegations. These include the 19 March incident at Khan al-Asal, as well as two other incidents previously identified by the Mission as warranting an investigation. The Mission will also discuss with the Government information that it may possess regarding allegations it reported on the use of chemical weapons pertaining to the incidents of 22, 24 and 25 August.
Highlighting the continuing challenge to bring aid to civilians trapped in the conflict, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on 23 September that for most of this year, UNICEF and its partners have faced severe difficulties in reaching hundreds of thousands of children in Aleppo, rural Damascus, major parts of Homs, Deir ez Zour and rural Dara’a. “Unimpeded humanitarian access requires clear commitments on behalf of the Syrian government and opposition groups”, he said. Practical ways to achieve this include humanitarian pauses in the conflict to permit humanitarian workers safe access and freedom of movement, he added.
Select UN stories
Thousands of Syrian children fleeing country alone, UN agency warns
20 September 2013 – More than 4,000 Syrian children have crossed borders into neighbouring countries without parents or adult relatives, the United Nations children’s agency said today, warning that without the protection of guardians, they remain extraordinarily vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Angela Kane: Disarming Syria
23 September 2013- UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane appeared on “Talk to Al Jazeera” to discuss the chemical weapons investigation. (This story has a link to Al Jazeera on the UNODA website.)
Syria crisis endangering development across Arab world, UN report finds
23 September 2013 – Recent turmoil in the Arab world imperils progress towards achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region, according to a report launched by the UN Development Group along with the League of Arab States and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.