Nobel-awarded watchdog calls for short-term cease-fires in Syria
Director General of the OPCW, Ahmet Üzümcü, said Syrian officials had been co-operating and facilitating the experts’ work. AP photoThe head of the watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal said fighting is preventing access to some sites through rebel-held areas and called for “local and short-term cease-fires” to allow experts to work.
Ahmet Üzümcü, chief of the U.N.-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the BBC Syrian officials had been co-operating and facilitating the experts’ work.
He said they had been taken wherever they wanted to go, and they had already reached five out of at least 20 facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.
However, he said routes to some of the sites went through opposition-held territory and this prevented access. “They change hands from one day to another, which is why we appeal to all sides in Syria to support this mission, to be co-operative and not render this mission more difficult. It’s already challenging,” he said.
He said he had called for truces because “in the previous, U.N.-led mission to investigate allegations of use [of chemical weapons] there were temporary cease-fires of four or five hours which helped this mission.”