UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – A mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons was announced after a deadly gas attack that killed hundreds outside the country's capital, Damascus, in August 2013.
On January 4, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed, however, in April reports emerged that Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) militants could be using and producing chemical weapons in Syria.
Moscow and Beijing submitted a draft resolution aiming to prevent radicals from using chemical weapons in Syria on April 13. Russia's Envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin expressed regret on Wednesday over counteraction by some Western states to the Russian-Chinese draft.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. A US-Russia-brokered ceasefire came into force across Syria on February 27, but it does not apply to terrorist organizations such as Daesh.
Chemical weapons had reportedly been previously deployed by rebels groups in Syria’s Aleppo. In early March, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) stated that the Ahrar ash-Sham Islamist group shelled the Sheikh Maqsood neighbourhood using white or yellow phosphorus munitions.