Watchdog blames Syria for 2018 chemical attack

In a long-awaited conclusion on a case that raised tensions between Damascus and the West, the international chemical weapons watchdog accused Syria on Friday for a 2018 chlorine assault that killed 43 people.

According to investigators, there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that during the Syrian civil war, at least one Syrian air force helicopter dropped two cylinders of the deadly poison on the rebel-held town of Douma.

  Learn about the COVID-19 pandemic from News Hour  

“The world now knows the facts,” Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chief Fernando Arias said in a statement. “It is up to the international community to take action.”

The attack on April 7, 2018, was allegedly staged by rescue workers at the direction of the United States, according to Damascus and its ally Moscow. The United States, along with Britain and France, then began airstrikes on Syria.

Another contentious case was the Douma one, where reports from two former workers claimed the Hague-based watchdog had changed its initial conclusions to make them appear more plausible.

But the OPCW said its investigators had “considered a range of possible scenarios” and concluded that “the Syrian Arab Air Forces are the perpetrators of this attack.”

Western powers together called on Syria to be held accountable over the “horrific” attack.

“We call on the Russian Federation to stop shielding Syria from accountability for its use of chemical weapons,” said a joint statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany.

“No amount of disinformation from the Kremlin can hide its hand in abetting the Assad regime.”

Follow News Hour

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
No Comments