The United Nations security council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution to investigate if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against innocent civilians. However, the honeymoon did not last long when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blasted these claims.
“This problem was successfully resolved,” he declared, adding:
Sometimes publications come out that there could be undeclared chemical weapons in Syria. This is all being checked, here we must avoid unfounded accusations. We have every basis to consider that Syria will continue cooperating closely.
The UN hopes to find out who was responsible for the deadly chemical weapon attack on Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, in August 2013. The U.S., United Kingdom, and France have made clear they believed it was President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
“Pointing the finger matters,” insisted Samantha Powers, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. “This sends a clear and powerful message to all those involved in chemical weapons attacks in Syria: the Joint Investigative Mechanism [the new body of UN and OPCW investigators] will identify you if you gas people.”
After the attack, the Syrian and Russian government blamed rebel groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and Nusra Front. Syrian officials told the U.S. they destroyed all their chemical weapons to avoid any airstrikes.
The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention banned any usage of chlorine as a weapon, as it “turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in the resulting body fluids.”
Over 1,300 people died in the attack, including women and children. People claimed they witnessed “regime fighter planes were flying over the area after the bombardment.” Videos “showed rows of bodies” dressed in pajamas, as the first attacked occurred in the middle of the night. A year after the attack, Human Rights Watch released a video and claimed the evidence proves the Syrian government was behind the attack.
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