Syria's government killed civilians with chemical weapons in April finds United Nations inquiry

Glen Mclaughlin
September 7, 2017

"Government forces continued to deliberately target civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas. In the gravest incident, the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, killing dozens, the majority of whom were women and children", the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria reported, explicitly accusing Assad of committing war crimes.

In its latest report, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria charts the major trends and patterns of global human rights and humanitarian law violations committed between March and July 2017. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed in the town of Khan Sheikhun, in Idlib province, had died from the effects of the gas, adding that dozens more suffered respiratory problems and other symptoms. At least 84 civilians including many children were killed in the attack.

Meanwhile, the Assad government has consistently denied using any form of chemical weapons.

According to Reuters, these are the most conclusive findings that the United Nations war crimes investigation team has published thus far with regards to Assad's use of chemical warfare during the Syrian civil war.

The weapons used on Khan Sheikhun were previously identified as containing sarin, but that finding by a fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) did not specify who was responsible. While it's true that chlorine has multiple industrial uses, the same can not be said of Sarin gas used in several attacks over the last few years. The plane is used only by the Syrian air force.

The investigators revealed that the Assad led Syrian government's warplane dropped sarin on the town in Idlib province, killing more than 80 civilians.

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The attack on Khan Sheikhoun - which left 28 children and 23 women among the dead - prompted a retaliatory strike by the U.S. on the airfield from where the Sukhoi-22 aeroplane took off.

The attack by the Syrian airforce also targeted medical facilities throughout the area, hampering attempts to treat the wounded and increasing the death toll.

Noting concerns about the impact of worldwide coalition air strikes on civilians, the report highlighted US operations which hit civilians.

"In Al-Jinah, Aleppo, forces of the United States of America failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attacking a mosque, in violation of worldwide humanitarian law", the report said. His apologists can try to wiggle away from Obama's culpability, but the fact of the matter is that Obama made the decision not to take out Syria's chemical weapons supply and then made a ridiculous deal with Syria's ally Russian Federation to have the stockpile removed.

The report is the 14th by the commission and covers events from March to early July, based on interviews with Syrians, satellite images and examinations of photos and videos.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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