Speaking the Nations Mind

North Korea Helping Syria With Chemical Weapons – Reports


North Korea has been sending equipment to Syria that could be used to make chemical weapons, a UN report says.

Some 40 previously unreported shipments were made between 2012 and 2017, the report found. Materials included acid-resistant tiles, valves and pipes.

The report – yet to be released – said N Korean missile specialists had been seen at Syrian weapon-making centres.

The allegations follow new reports of chlorine being used by Syrian forces, which the government denies.

Meanwhile, air strikes were heard in the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus as a second daily pause in fighting was due to get under way to allow in relief aid.

Aid was unable to enter the rebel-held region on Tuesday – the first of the five-hour “pauses” in fighting – after clashes continued.

Activists blame government air and artillery strikes, while Russia said rebels had shelled a “humanitarian corridor” meant to let civilians leave.

Barzeh was named in the UN report as one of the chemical weapons and missile facilities North Korean technicians had been seen operating at.

The Syrian government told the UN panel that the only North Koreans present in Syria are sports coaches and athletes.

Among the alleged shipments from North Korea to Syria, at least five were sent via a Chinese trading firm, Cheng Tong Trading Co Ltd, the UN report says.

The shipments allegedly contained acid-resistant tiles – which can be used for activities conducted at high temperatures – at a quantity that would cover the area of a large scale industrial project.

While the seized items “do not appear on any control lists”, they included “materials that can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of a chemical factory”, the report noted.