SNHR says Assad regime 'using chemical weapons' in Syria

Syrian Network for Human Rights says Assad regime 'using chemical weapons' in Syria even after it promised to hand over them after UN resolution

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A Civil Defence member carries a damaged canister in Ibleen village from what activists said was a chlorine gas attack, on Kansafra, Ibleen and Josef villages, Idlib countryside May 3, 2015

The Assad regime used toxic chlorine gas at least eight times over a five-month period in different areas of Syria, London-based Syrian Network for Human Rigts (SNHR) said on Tuesday.

The rights group monitoring the conflict in Syria documented the “war crimes” of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad saying that gas had been used between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, mostly in Idlib, the Damascus suburbs, Hama, Homs, Daraa and Deir al Zour.

Toxic chlorine gas usage in Syria was banned under the resolutions agreed by Syrian regime and UN Security Council (UNSC) on 14 September 2013 following the August 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta in Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people including many civilians.

However, the report said “all our evidence indicate that the Syrian regime have violated UNSC resolutions 2118, 2209 and 2235” by perpetrating toxic gas attacks.

Since then 87 people have been killed and 867 injured by exposure to poisonous gas, the network said in a report covering the last five months of 2015.

The rights group also expressed its distrust to Russia even in case of “guarantee or assurance” of any political solution of ceasefire in Syria, as it failed follow the commitments of UN resolution.

Russia has started its aerial campaign in Syria in September 2015 after Assad’s invitation for help. Both have said that they would target DAESH terrorist group in the country. However, Russian officials admitted bombing non-DAESH Syrian opposition groups, saying that the Russian air strikes were being carried out in coordination with Assad regime.

The “indiscriminative attacks” of Russia and Assad regime angered many world leaders.

The US officials repeatedly warned Assad to target only DAESH positions. John Kerry, Secretary of State stated that US was concerned about the situation in Syria and said only target was suppose to be DAESH. “Obviously”, he said “that is not what is happening.”

Reiterating the Kerry’s statement, SNHR said that its report was an evidence that the regime’s use of toxic gases was focused on regions that were under control of opposition as only %3 of the attacks were targeted on DAESH controlled regions.  

SNHR teams prepared the report were not able to visit and collect samples from regions shelled with toxic gases, the report stated adding, “We relied on survivors and eyewitnesses' testimonies, Civil Defence members and doctors who treated the injured people.”

The network called for an international commission to investigate such incidents and identify those responsible.

It also demanded the UN Security Council to take “serious and dissuasive measures” that were promised to be imposed “in case of not abiding to the provisions of resolution 2118, measures will be imposed under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.”

TRTWorld and agencies