North Korea shipments to Syria chemical arms agency intercepted - 23 August 2017
Two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country’s chemical weapons program were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea sanctions violations. The report by a panel of independent UN experts, which was submitted to the UN Security Council earlier this month and seen by Reuters on Monday, gave no details on when or where the interdictions occurred or what the shipments contained. “The panel is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation between Syria and the DPRK (North Korea),” the experts wrote in the 37-page report. “Two member states interdicted shipments destined for Syria. Another Member state informed the panel that it had reasons to believe that the goods were part of a KOMID contract with Syria,” according to the report. KOMID is the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation. It was blacklisted by the Security Council in 2009 and described as Pyongyang’s key arms dealer and exporter of equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons. In March 2016 the council also blacklisted two KOMID representatives in Syria. “The consignees were Syrian entities designated by the European Union and the United States as front companies for Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), a Syrian entity identified by the Panel as cooperating with KOMID in previous prohibited item transfers,” the UN experts wrote. SSRC has overseen the country’s chemical weapons program since the 1970s. The UN experts said activities between Syria and North Korea they were investigating included cooperation on Syrian Scud missile programs and maintenance and repair of Syrian surface-to-air missiles air defense systems. The North Korean and Syrian missions to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The experts said they were also investigating the use of the VX nerve agent in Malaysia to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in February. North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and the Security Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches. Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States. However, diplomats and weapons inspectors suspect Syria may have secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability. During the country’s more than six-year long civil war the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said the banned nerve agent sarin has been used at least twice, while the use of cholorine as a weapon has been widespread. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.
NEW VIDEO: “A Matter of Life or Death: LGBTQ+ Refugees”: Being LGBTQ+ in the United States can definitely be difficult, but in some countries around the world you can go to jail or even be killed if you are out of the closet. For part 5 of my Pride Month series, “Chosen Family: Stories of Queer Resilience,” I met two incredible members of our community, Shadi (from Syria) and Sharifa (from Uganda) who went to incredible lengths to flee their home countries to avoid persecution. You’ll love them.
An estimated 2.5 million Syrian children have been displaced by civil war, according to Norad,
the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
This prevents them from accessing structured, formal education, and subjects them to an obscene amount of stress and emotional trauma.
In an effort to address those problems,
Norad is taking advantage of a nearly ubiquitous piece of technology to
supplement Syrian children’s education: smartphones. Specifically, it’s
using free, educational mobile games to help Syrian children learn
Arabic. Now, a tech nonprofit is using Norad’s games as a model to reach
children all over the world. Read more (8/9/17)