THE HAGUE: The Syrian air force used the chemical weapon chlorine in an attack on the town of Saraqib in 2018, the global toxic arms watchdog said on Monday after an investigation.
The report is the second by an investigations team set up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has new powers to apportion blame for attacks.
The OPCW said in a statement the Investigations and Identification Team (IIT) “concludes that units of the Syrian Arab air force used chemical weapons in Saraqib on Feb 4, 2018”. Reactions from abroad were swift, with France and Germany warning the findings would not go unanswered.
“The use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, and under any circumstances is intolerable, and impunity for their use is equally unacceptable,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“It is imperative to identify and hold accountable all those who have used chemical weapons.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the evidence of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government was “documented and irrefutable”, and called for an “appropriate response” from the international community.
His German counterpart Heiko Maas echoed him, saying: “Those responsible must be held accountable.”
There are reasonable grounds to believe that, on Feb 4, 2018, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force under the control of the Tiger Forces hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder,” the OPCW report said.
Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021