The French President Should Form an International Alliance to Deter the Syrian Regime and its Allies from Using Chemical Weapons
SNHR said in a report released today that Syrian regime forces used chemical weapons again despite Security Council Resolution 2401, and called on the French President to form an international alliance to deter the Syrian regime and its allies from using chemical weapons.
The report notes that the Syrian regime usually carries out chemical weapons in the context of military progress, where areas that are considered first lines on battlefronts have been targeted with chemical weapons which most likely comes after the Syrian regime had destroyed hospitals and killed paramedics. This was, the report stresses, prominently seen in Eastern Aleppo’s neighborhood at the end of 2016, where SNHR documented 11 attacks on the front areas of Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods.
According to the report, the Syrian regime has carried out five attacks on Eastern Ghouta between November 14, 2017, the day on which the recent offensive against Eastern Ghouta, Damascus suburbs, started, and March 2018. The report sheds light on the attacks on Hamouriya town which was after Security Council Resolution 2401 was adopted.
The report says that the process of documenting the attack on Hamouriya town, Eastern Ghouta, encountered extraordinary difficulties and significant challenges. There are still three chemical attacks, the report stresses, that are still being investigated by our team. The report notes that ,ost of Eastern Ghouta’s residents don’t see the point of documentation efforts anymore after all the violations they’ve witnessed over the course of the past seven years, and the international community’s shameful helplessness to stop and hold the Syrian regime accountable, as well as other perpetrators.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, added: “The Syrian regime has been responsible for tens of breaches of all of the Security Council Resolutions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The same Resolutions that provided that the Security Council will take action under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in the event of non-compliance on the Syrian regime’s part. However, the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the International Criminal Court haven’t taken any action against the Syrian regime in this regard.”
The report contains two accounts for two of the injured that were collected after they were treated. The accounts were collected by speaking directly to the eyewitnesses and not cited from any open sources. Also, the report contains an analysis of pictures and videos and outlines the weather conditions in Damascus city on the day of the attack.
The attack occurred, according to the report, on Monday, March 5, 2018, between 21:00 and 22:00. A government forces helicopter dropped a barrel bomb loaded with a poison gas on the residential neighborhoods in southeastern Hamouriya town. The attack resulted in 25 civilian injuries. Symptoms included breathing difficulties and nausea. Among the 25 injured were two civil defense volunteers.
The report stresses that the Syrian regime has violated the customary international humanitarian law, through the use of chemical weapons in Hamouriya town, as well as the CWC and all relevant Security Council resolutions – particularly 2118, 2209, and 2235. Also, the use of chemical weapons constitutes a war crime according to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute.
Moreover, the report refers to the CWC, which the Russian government ratified, as the agreement prohibits any form of assistance or encouragement on the contribution to any prohibited activity by any member state. However, a number of evidences suggest that Russian forces were involved in providing a preliminary and succeeding assistance to Syrian regime forces.
The report adds that the attack on Hamouriya town constitutes a violation of Resolution 2401, which was adopted by the Security Council on February 24, 2018. The Resolution provides for the cessation of indiscriminate attack, and the passage of aids into besieged areas.
In addition, the report calls on the United Nations to apply pressure on the Syrian regime in order to compel it to allow the entrance of medical supplies that was removed from the convoy that entered Eastern Ghouta, Damascus suburbs, on March 5 and March 9, 2018. The UN should also commit to deliver complete aids that are sufficient for all the residents of Eastern Ghouta.
Moreover, the report stresses that the four permanent members should apply pressure on the Russian government in order to cease its support for the Syrian regime, who is using chemical weapons, as its involvement in this regard has been proven.
The report also calls on the states of the world to demonstrate a better unity against the Syrian regime – the main and primary user of chemical weapons in this century. Also, the international community should take serious, joint action to impose deterring, strict, real sanctions immediately. Additionally, the world’s states should establish a humanitarian alliance that aims to protect civilians in Syria from chemical weapons and barrel bombs since Russia will keep hindering the Security Council and using veto countless times.
The report calls on the Friends of Syria group to provide the areas that have been bombed with chemical weapons with protective masks. The report estimates that no less than 20,000 protective masks are needed in these areas, in addition to the necessary equipment to get rid of the impact of the chemical pollution.
Lastly, the report calls on the Russian government to respect Security Council Resolution 2401 that calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and apply pressure on the Syrian regime to commit to the Resolution. Also, the Russian government should stop using veto in order to protect the Syrian regime who is involved in perpetrating crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as using chemical weapons. The Russian government should also launch an investigation into the support provided by Russian forces in Syria to the Syrian regime in Hamouriya town attack, and stop hindering the referral of the case in Syria to the International Criminal Court.