President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah telephoned the chair of the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria Paulo Pinheiro to discuss details of the massacre committed by regime forces using chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Khan Sheikoun in rural Idlib on Tuesday.
The two sides discussed the possibility of the Commission to conduct an urgent investigation into the crime claiming the lives of 100 people, including 25 children and 15 women, and injuring 400 others, according to figures put out by the Directorate of Health in Idlib province.
The European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said that Bashar al-Assad held "primary responsibility" for the chemical attack.
Meanwhile, France called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to discuss the attack.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the massacre threatens the Astana meetings during a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The Syrian Civil Defense said that its crews continue search and rescue operations at the scene of the crime.
The International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria has previously issued report confirming the involvement of the Assad regime in a number of chemical attacks against civilians in Syria. Russia and China have blocked a draft resolution at the Security Council calling for the imposition of sanctions on the Assad regime following the results of the report.
The town of Khan Sheikhoun is located in southern rural Idlib and home to around 100,000 people, including 12,000 displaced people. It is under full control of the Free Syrian Army and is subject to daily bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian air forces. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
Head of the Syrian interim government Jawad Abu Hatab said that regime forces used weapons of mass destruction in the airstrikes on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rural Idlib earlier on Tuesday. He added that the chemical weapons that were used in the attack on the rebel-held town included the sarin nerve agent and the poisonous chlorine.
Abu Hatab called on media outlets to accompany him to check the scene of the crime to document the violations being committed by the Assad regime and its allies. He stressed the need to examine the bodies of victims, many of whom are children and women, and to interview the injured.
Medical staff of the interim government took samples from the scene of the crime to be examined and to determine the type of toxic substances used in the attack, Abu Hatab added.
Abu Hatab pointed out that over 100 people were killed in the attack on the town and more than 400 injured, including 90 who are in critical situation.
Abu Hatab called upon the United Nations, the Arab League, and friendly countries to stand up to the perpetrators of these crimes; to hold them accountable; and to take urgent action to protect civilians from the daily crimes committed against them since March 2011. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to hold the Assad regime accountable for the horrific crime his forces committed in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rural Idlib at dawn today. Chemical substances were used in the attack which left at least 100 people killed and over 400 wounded, mostly women and children, according to the directorate of health in Idlib province.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Coalition said that early photos and videos of the aftermath of the attack clearly show a horrible crime similar to the one the Assad regime committed in eastern Ghouta near Damascus in the summer of 2013, which the international community allowed to go unpunished.
The Coalition called upon the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to address this crime and conduct an immediate investigation into it. Urgent measures need to be taken to ensure that those who ordered, executed, supported and are involved in the attack are held accountable under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Coalition said.
“The failure to take concrete, urgent action would be understood by the Assad regime as a blessing for its actions. Inaction is no more an option as it amounts to direct involvement and even direct responsibility for those crimes,” the Coalition added.
The Assad regime’s air force also carried out a massacre against civilians in the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta on Monday claiming the lives of at least 32 people, including women and children.
The Assad regime continues to use internationally prohibited weapons in bombing civilian areas in a blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions 2118, 2209, 2235 and 2254.
“These crimes would not have happened again had it not been for the lukewarm response by the international community and its failure to ensure protection for civilians,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition called for the implementation of Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118, which says the Council would take measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in case of noncompliance, including the transfer and use of chemical weapons. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)