Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:08

Rights Group Provide Video & Photographic Evidence of Assad’s Responsibility for April 7 Chemical Attack on Douma

A rights group has provided new evidence about the Assad chemical regime's responsibility for the April 7 chemical attack on the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta. It published a report containing photographs and videos that supported witness and survivals’ accounts.

A report released by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) on Friday compared remnants of munitions that were found in the site of the attack and those owned by the Assad regime. The Network said that the Assad regime helicopters dropped two barrel bombs filled with toxic gases on the northern parts of the town of Douma on April 7, estimating the distance between the two impact sites at 300 meters.

According to the SNHR’s report, 15 people showed symptoms of asphyxiation in the first attack, while 41 civilians suffocated to death in the second one, including 12 children and 15 women, while 550 others suffered from asphyxiation.

The Syrian Coalition previously said that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in dozens of attacks on civilians no longer needed proof, stressing that these attacks constituted war crimes for which it must be held accountable.

The report noted that the April 7 attack on Douma aimed to put increasing pressure on residents of the town to force them to agree to the Russian conditions and evacuate the town.

The rights group underscored that the April 7 attack on Douma represented blatant defiance of the international community and the UN Security Council as the attack took place just 72 hours after a UN Security Council meeting to discuss chemical attacks and the implementation of resolution 2118. The attack also coincided with the first anniversary of the US missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase from which the sarin attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 7, 2017 was launched.

The report noted that the US missile strikes on the Shayrat airbase had failed to deter the Assad regime from killing more civilians with toxic gases as it launched 13 chemical attacks following the Khan Sheikhoun massacre. “We have recently seen US-British-French strikes against the Assad regime’s chemical weapons facilities. But how many more chemical weapons we will record after these strikes,” the Network asked.

The report also said that the Assad regime had carried out a total of 216 chemical weapons attacks across Syria claiming the lives of no fewer than 1,461 people, including 185 children, 252 women and injuring at least 7,669 people.

Moreover, the Network said that the Assad regime had repeatedly insulted the international community and UN Security Council by violating resolution 2118. It noted that the Assad regime carried out about 183 chemical attacks and 114 attacks following the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2209 and nearly 58 attacks following the adoption of resolution 2235.

As for Russia’s role in the April 7 attack on Douma, the report said that “Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, had repeatedly lied to deny that the attack took place.” It noted that “the contradictory Russian statements showed the seriousness of the crisis Russia had to deal with while trying to deny the responsibility of its ally Assad for the disastrous attack.”

The Network cited Russia’s initial denial of the attack and its claims that all videos and photos of the attack were all fake and its later recognition of the attack and accusations against rebels of being responsible.

The report indicated that the Assad regime and Russia sought to obstruct investigations into the attack, adding that Russian troops got to the site of the attack and tampered with evidence. It added that Russia used its veto power on the UN Security Council to prevent the establishment of a UN mechanism to assign blame for the attack. (Source: Syrian Coalitions’ Media Department)

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