- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A North Korean mining firm, reputed to be a front for Pyongyang’s weapons development programs, attempted to ship materiel to Syrian officials tied to the country’s chemical weapons program, according to a confidential United Nations assessment of international sanctions against the North.

Details of the U.N. findings, first reported by Reuters, found officials from Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation {KOMID) had sent a pair of shipments of unknown contents to members of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre or SSRC. The Syrian government organization has been responsible for developing chemical and biological weapons for regime in Damascus since the 1970’s.

The shipments never arrived in Syria after being intercepted by international authorities from U.N. partner nations, Reuters reports. “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,” the U.N. review states.

KOMID has repeatedly trafficked in materials associated with ballistic missile development and other conventional arms programs, and was blacklisted by the U.N. security council as a result of those activities, Reuters reports.

As a result, the U.N. “is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation between Syria and [North Korea],” the report states.

North Korea and Syria had reportedly been cooperating on efforts to repair and maintain Syria’s arsenal of short-range Scud missiles and the country’s air defense systems.

Two American destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles attacked the al Shayrat airbase in western Syria in April. The strike was in retaliation for a Syrian chemical attack against anti-government fighters in Idlib province that left over 70 dead, including 11 children. Damascus had been ordered to dismantle its chemical stockpiles as part of Russian-brokered 2013 peace pact between Syria and the U.S.

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