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Assad forces carried out 178 chemical attacks after U.N. resolutions, kill 1420: monitor

Local | 2018-02-13 20:13:00
Assad forces carried out 178 chemical attacks after U.N. resolutions, kill 1420: monitor
(Zaman Al Wasl- SNHR)- The Syrian Network for Human Rights said Tuesday that the Syrian regime has diminished the French initiative, after diminishing the American red line, by carrying out an attack using chemical weapons in Saraqeb city, eastern suburbs of Idlib province.
The report of the Britain-based monitoring group says that Russia has failed to deter the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons. After promising that the Syrian regime will surrender its chemical weapon stockpile, following the Two Ghoutas attack in August 2013, the Syrian regime has carried out no less than 178 attacks using chemical weapons, as of February 2018. The report adds that the Syrian regime carried out no less than eight attacks with chemical weapons from the commencement of the de-escalation agreement and February 2018 – another indication of Russia’s failure.
Russia has used veto five times in favour of the Assad regime with regard to the file of chemical weapons, three of which were within one month, in order to stop the renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM)’s mandate, after it ended in November 2017. Since that date, the Syrian regime has carried out three attacks using chemical weapons according to the report.
The report outlines the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime between the first use and February 2018, as the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons in 211 attacks, including 33 attacks before Security Council resolution 2118, and 178 attacks after the resolution was adopted. Of the 178 attacks, 109 attacks occurred after resolution 2209, and also 53 attacks after resolution 2235. In addition, three attacks were carried out after the Russian veto on the renewal of JIM’s mandate.
The chemical attacks attacks killed 1,421 people, divided into: 1,357 civilians, including 187 children and 244 women (adult female), 57 armed opposition fighters, and seven captives from Syrian regime forces who were being held at an opposition prison. In addition, no less than 6,684 people were wounded.
 Saraqeb city was preceded by a vicious offensive by the Syrian-Russian alliance, and then retaliatory acts by the same alliance after a Russian Su-25 warplane was shot down by a shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft rocket in al Sawamea village, eastern suburbs of Idlib. The report also notes that the attack was deliberately intended by Syrian-Russian alliance forces, considering the tactics used, such as timing, targeting hospitals prior to the attack, and targeting the roads leading to Saraqeb after the attack.
The attack took place on Sunday, February 8, 2018, around 21:20. The regime forces helicopters dropped two barrel bombs loaded with a poison gas that targeted civilian houses in al Sharqi neighborhood, Saraqeb city, eastern suburbs of Idlib governorate. Eight civilians were injured, and suffered from suffocation. After civil defense members arrived in the site, three of them also suffered from suffocation, and were transferred to makeshift hospitals.
The report stresses that the Syrian regime has violated the customary international humanitarian law, through the use of chemical weapons in Saraqeb city, 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 preceding and succeeding assistance to Syrian regime forces.

 President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that "France will strike" if chemical weapons are used against civilians in the Syrian conflict but that he had not yet seen any evidence that this was the case.

"On chemical weapons, I set a red line and I reaffirm that red line," Macron told reporters. "Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population."

In a telephone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin last Friday, Macron expressed his concern at signs that chlorine bombs had been used against civilians recently. 
Zaman Al Wasl
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