Hakim Warns of International Inaction towards Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Nazir Hakim warned that international inaction towards the Assad regime’s use of chemical and non-conventional weapons against the Syrian people risks creating security threats affecting the whole world.
Hakim was speaking during a speech at an international conference on non-traditional threats in Asia and the Pacific held in the Korean capital Seoul with the participation of academics and military experts from several countries specializing in chemical weapons and the fight against terrorism.
Hakim pointed to the failure of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its mission to fully destroy Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons. He cited the regime’s use of sarin in the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun as evidence of the UN’s failure to force Assad to give up his entire cache of chemical weapons.
The OPCW made two mistakes, Hakim said; the first was failing to ascertain the quantity of chemical weapons the Assad regime has declared, and secondly, the OPCW gave medics and first responders in Syria a false sense of security. He added that medics and first responders, already working under great pressure, have repeatedly been caught unprepared to deal with attacks involving the use of chemical weapons in attacks on rebel-held areas.
Hakim called for expediting the OPCW investigation into Assad’s use of chemical weapons and to ensure the elimination of the remaining stockpile of chemical weapons. He also stressed the need for holding the Assad regime accountable for continuing to produce and use chemical weapons. He called for providing the Syrian people with equipment to protect them against Assad’s use of chemical weapons and equipment to remove and handle mines and IEDs left by the Assad regime’s militias and ISIS militants.
Hakim said that death caused by chemical weapons account for one percent of the total death toll in Syria, while conventional weapons are responsible for 99 percent. Hakim stressed the need to put an end to all attacks on Syrian civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)