Syria rejects UNSC report blaming it for chemical attack

A United Nations watchdog agency is blaming the Syrian government for a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held area of the country that killed more than 90 people in April. The Syrian government surrendered its chemical arsenal to the OPCW after the deaths of hundreds in a sarin attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus in 2013, although the opposition has long accused the regime of holding back some of its supply.

The April 4 attack on the village of Khan Sheikhoun killed more than 80 people and injured nearly 300 others, according to a report Thursday by a panel of investigators known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism.

The report findings were issued by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN's Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).

The attack in Khan Sheikhoun sparked outrage around the world as photos and video of the aftermath, including quivering children dying on camera, were widely broadcast.

Because of the tragedy, the Government of US President Donald Trump has made air strikes against the Syrian Air Force Base, where the Western forces claimed the attack against Khan Shaykhun originated. Mr. Putin often expresses a desire for Russia's views to be treated with respect, but what kind of respect is due if he favors a besieged dictator who is using chemical weapons?

"The Security Council must send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons by anyone will not be tolerated, and must fully support the work of the impartial investigators", she said.

The report also said ISIS was to blame for the use of sulfur mustard in the Syrian town of Umm Hawsh on September 15 and 16, 2016.

A fact-finding mission by the OPCW reported on June 30 that sarin was used in the Khan Sheikhoun attack and "sulfur mustard" in Um Hosh, but it was up to the JIM to determine responsibility. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances and reiterate our commitment that those responsible will be held to account.

Syria and Russian Federation are yet to make public comments on the issue. "Countries that fail to do so are no better than the dictators or terrorists who use these bad weapons".

  • Rogelio Becker