Chemical Weapons Watchdog Chief Criticizes Leakers

Leaks were related to 2018 incident in Douma, Syria

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has become a high-profile issue surrounding the war in Syria, with multiple nations trying to use the watchdog to drum up favorable statements for their assorted positions. Reports, and subsequent leaks, are trying to frame this debate, and OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias was deeply critical of the leakers.

When statements are driven by diplomatic convenience, not only is their great pressure on the OPCW to rubber-stamp those messages, but statements of fact are simply never the end of things.

In March 2019, the OPCW report on Douma concluded it was likely that molecular chlorine was used in the April 2018 “attack.” The report did not have a mandate to assign blame. Leakers, however, released classified evidence to argue that the conclusion was flawed.

The leaks were embarrassing, and Arias attacked the leakers, saying they had “breached their obligations to the organization.” He went on to claim that “they are individuals who could not accept that their views were not backed by evidence.”

The comments came after an OPCW investigation into the leaks, and the leadership of the watchdog says it is being reviewed further to try to protect their confidentiality system.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of