The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) called for action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter against the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians.
In a report on Monday, the Network said that Assad regime’s forces continue to violate UN Security Council resolutions, noting that article 41 of Chapter VII states that the “the UN Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions.”
“The democratic countries currently meeting in the Hague have to take action to bypass countries tolerating the use of chemical weapons given the plentiful evidence about the Assad regime’s systematic use of chemical weapons,” the Network said. It added that chemical weapons attacks constituted by crimes against humanity.
The meeting, which was called by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and will be held on June 26-27, provides an opportunity to “correct the catastrophic errors” in the issue of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. It is also an opportunity to overcome pressure from Russia and its allies as a state sponsor of the Assad regime’s actions.”
The report called on the UN Security Council to take such measures, including the partial or complete suspension of economic, rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio and other means of transportation. It also called for severing of diplomatic relations with Assad’s allies.
The report called on the signatories to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to establish a mechanism supporting the work of OPCW. This mechanism’s main mandate should be to identify and hold accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons.
The monitoring group said that it had documented 221 chemical attacks in the period between December 23, 2012 and June 22, 2018. The Assad regime is responsible for 216 attacks, SNHR said, adding that the majority of these attacks took place in the provinces of Damascus and Idlib.
The Network accused Russia of providing assistance for Assad forces in the execution of at least three attacks by targeting ambulances and hospitals where victims of the attacks were being treated.
The report indicated that the Assad forces targeted the town of Douma with toxic gases on Saturday, April 7, 2018, killing and injuring around 1,200 people. The report also cited the sarin attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rural Idlib claiming the lives of 85 people, including 27 children and 19 women and causing asphyxiation to more than 546 others, mostly children and women. The victims also included first responders such as paramedics and civil defense volunteers. The attack prompted missile strikes by the US which responded by bombing the Shayrat airbase in eastern rural Homs.
On August 21, 2013, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured when the Assad regime deployed poison gas in an attack on eastern Ghouta. The Local Coordination Committees in Syria confirmed that the attack killed 1,360 civilians, including many children and women. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)