The Syrian Network for Human Rights said in a report published on Monday that it had recorded 221 incidents in which chemical weapons were used by the regime and the Islamic State, of which the regime was responsible for 216, and of which 183 happened after the infamous Ghouta attack, whose fifth anniversary just passed.
The report broke down the regime’s use of chemical weapons based on United Nations Security Council resolutions. It said that 33 chemical attacks occurred before Resolution 2118, and 183 occurred between that resolution and Aug. 21, 2018. There were 114 attacks after Resolution 2209 and 58 after Resolution 2235.
According to the report, these attacks killed at least 1,461 people, all of them in attacks by the regime. These included 1,397 civilians, including 185 children and 252 women, and 57 armed opposition fighters, as well as seven prisoners from regime forces who were in an opposition prison at the time. They also wounded at least 9,753 people.
The report said that the regime had carried out the second largest of its attacks on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the southern Idleb countryside about three years after the Ghouta attack. The international community was lenient with the regime’s violations and has failed to make it comply with its resolutions, which have established a principle of impunity. They have not hesitated to continue chemical attacks, most recently in Douma in April 2018.
The report shined light on several important points about the two Ghouta attacks, such as the time of the attack, which ensured air movement and a temperature appropriate for poison gases to spread to the greatest possible extent, in addition to a number of rockets estimated at 13 which were launched from special platforms. All of this indicates intentional planning by the regime to fell the largest possible number of victims and to create a devastating and annihilating shock among Syrian society, with the aim of pushing it towards a final surrender and to return humiliated to lifelong Assad family rule.
Through its use of chemical weapons, the Assad regime, has violated customary international humanitarian law and the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as well as all related Security Council resolutions, especially resolutions 2118, 2209, and 2235. The use of chemical weapons also amounts to a war crime, according to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court.
It said that the chemical weapons convention, which was ratified by the Russian government, definitively prevents any type of assistance or encouragement or participation in any banned activity by any state. Evidence has appeared which implicates Russian forces in offering prior and later support for regime forces in a number of attacks, while Russia has used its veto 12 times during the Syrian crisis on behalf of the Syrian regime, six with respect to the use of chemical weapons in particular, which, according to the report, shows the total failure of the Security Council to protect the law and the international system.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.