Report: Syria regime & IS used chemical weapons

Aug 25, 2016, 6:16 AM EDT
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at Damascus university in 2012.
(Source: Al Jazeera English/flickr)

A team from the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (O.P.C.W.) has accused the Syrian regime and Islamic State of using chemical weapons in the country’s ongoing conflict. The report found that the Syrian government used chlorine gas on two occasions while IS militants used mustard gas once between 2014 and 2015.

The revelation sparked a global outcry with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, urging the Security Council to take strong action against the perpetrators, reports The Guardian. Power added that President Bashar al-Assad’s government breached a September 2013 resolution, which bans the “use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The U.N.-O.P.C.W. team, which received more than 100 allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria between December 2015 and August 2016, examined nine cases in seven towns to come up with the finding.

Syria could be slapped with international sanctions or could see a war crime case initiated against it in the International Criminal Court after the Security Council discusses the report next Tuesday, writes South China Morning Post. However, observers believe that Russia, a key supporter of the Assad regime, is unlikely to back such actions against Damascus.