OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria

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On 27 September 2013, the OPCW Executive Council adopted a historic decision EC-M-33/DEC.1 on the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons programme. This decision was endorsed by the unanimous adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) on the same day.

The Executive Council decision set out an accelerated programme for achieving the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons by mid-2014. It required inspections in Syria to commence from 1 October 2013 and called for ambitious milestones for destruction which were to be set by the Executive Council by 15 November.

The decision was informed by the preceding Framework Agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons, reached by the Russian Federation and the United States of America on 14 September, and facilitated the request by the Syrian Arab Republic that the Chemical Weapons Convention be applied ahead of the formal entry into force of the Convention for Syria on 14 October.

The OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria was formally established on 16 October 2013. The Mission has been tasked to oversee the timely elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme in the safest and most secure manner possible. It has continued the work undertaken to this end by the OPCW-UN advance team that arrived in Damascus on 1 October 2013.

Even as the Joint Mission works with urgency to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, the United Nations has repeatedly stressed that conventional weapons continue to kill as along as Syria’s conflict persists, and therefore the international community must redouble efforts to end the fighting through a peaceful political solution.