We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the developments of the armed conflict in Syria. The last development was the air raids against the town of Khan Shikhoun in Idlib’s countryside, which took place on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. The attacking planes launched indiscriminate weapons that amount to weapons of genocide, in addition to using weapons, ammunition, equipment and methods of warfare which in their nature cause excessive damage or unnecessary suffering. The aim of such tactics, or the expected result from using them, is to cause significant, widespread, and long lasting harm to the natural environment.
This attack caused the death of at least 94 civilians including 27 children and 27 women, in addition to injuring at least 200 civilians who suffered from suffocation, according to documentation undertaken by Syrian organizations and statements from the health directorate. The number of losses is not yet final, as there are many injured still undergoing treatment in Turkey. We call on the Security Council to take immediate action to confront the ongoing brutal crimes committed daily in Syria for more than six years.
The town of Khan Shikhoun is witnessing a mass exodus after the attack. The medical staff working in the area, such as SAMS and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), were unable to provide assistance to all those infected with the chemical agent, due to the deliberate shelling of medical centers in Idlib’s countryside, the overcrowding of hospitals, and the shortage of materials and medical personnel. This attack coincided with an unwarranted attack in several areas of the Damascus countryside and Deraa, leaving many civilian casualties.
We affirm that these violations are contrary to international laws and will not be the last violations, in light of the silence of the international community and the failure of international efforts to push the UN Security Council to take clear action to confront these brutal crimes committed daily by the Syrian regime and armed groups and militias for more than six years.
In September 2013, Syria officially accepted the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, and on 14 September 2013 it submitted the instrument of accession to the Convention with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. The Syrian Government announced that it would comply with and respect the provisions of the Convention. On 27 September, the Security Council adopted resolution 2118 endorsing the decision of the Executive Board of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which includes special measures to accelerate the dismantling of the chemical weapons program and subject it to strict investigation. Article 22 of the Security Council resolution stipulates that the council would impose measures under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in the event of non-compliance by Syria with this resolution.