North Korea supplying materials for chemical weapons to Syria: leaked UN report
A leaked United Nations report has revealed that North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian regime that could be used in the production of chemical weapons.
The New York Times said on Tuesday that the unreleased report charges Pyongyang with providing banned materials amid widespread accusations of chemical weapons use against civilians by Damascus.
The US daily said UN investigators had documented that North Korea sent possible chemical weapons components to Syria in at least 40 previously unreported shipments between 2012 and 2017 of prohibited ballistic missile parts and materials.
UN experts also said North Korean missile technicians had been seen at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report seen by the newspaper.
The report highlighted the danger posed by the shipments, which could allow Syria to maintain its chemical weapons while also providing North Korea with cash for its nuclear programmes.
The UN has declined to say when or if the report will be released to the public.
Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States. However, Syria may have secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability.
The leaked information comes days after a child died and at least 13 other people suffered breathing difficulties in a village in the Eastern Ghouta region after the suspected chemical attack.
Russia dismissed reports of a chemical attack as "bogus stories."
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons, a stance repeatedly supported by Moscow.
But UN investigators say government forces used chlorine as a weapon at least three times between 2014 and 2015 as well as a sarin gas attack in 2016.