The United Nations’ Failure to Punish the Syrian Regime for Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Allowed It to Repeatedly Use Them
The seventh of April marks one of the most dreadful and heartbreaking tragedies suffered by the Syrian people in the country’s modern history. On this date in 2018, the Syrian regime under the leadership of its current president, Bashar al Assad, used chemical weapons against civilians who were already suffering terribly after almost five years of brutal siege in Douma city in the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus Suburbs governorate. One of the most horrifying aspects of this atrocity was that the civilians were hiding at the time in the cellars of buildings in a desperate effort to escape ongoing regime bombing by the warplanes of the Syrian regime and the Russian regime led by its president, Vladimir Putin, which were heavily and indiscriminately bombing the city with dozens of missiles daily.
We will never be able to forget the photos and videos we received from the places where the chemical attacks took place. The images showed the bodies of the children and women stacked on top of each other, their faces blue from asphyxia, their eyes staring in sightless horror and foam extruding from their mouths. These terrible images reminded us again and again of the photos of victims of previous chemical attacks carried out by the Syrian regime, such as the attack on the Eastern and Western Ghouta in August 2013, as well as the Khan Sheikhoun attack on April 4, 2017, whose second anniversary we, at the Syrian Network for Human Rights, commemorated a few days ago.
On Saturday, April 7, 2018, the Syrian regime launched two chemical attacks in the north of Douma city. The first attack took place around 15:00 pm near the Sa’da Bakery building, injuring at least 15 individuals who suffered from respiratory distress symptoms, while the second attack, the larger of the two, took place five hours later at around 20:00 pm when the Syrian regime’s helicopters dropped two barrel bombs containing poison gas on two residential buildings near al Shuhada Square in the Nu’man area; 39 civilians, including 10 children and 15 women (adult female), died as a result of this attack, and nearly 550 others were injured, exhibiting respiratory and neurological symptoms.