President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah on Wednesday sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to former president of the UN Security Council Ramlan Bin Ibrahim concerning the third report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Alabdah said that JIM’s report confirmed that the Assad regime repeatedly used chlorine gas as a weapon of war, in violation of Security Council resolutions 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015) and 2235 (2015), and its obligations as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The letter called for imposing “punitive measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, as required by Security Council resolutions 2118 (2013), 2209 (2015) and 2235 (2015) sanctioning the Syrian regime for its defiance of international law and its willful killing of innocent civilians.”
“The evidence is now incontrovertible: the Syrian regime has systematically deployed chemical weapons to terrorize, maim and kill Syrian civilians, and likely retains a hidden chemical weapons program,” the letter added.
The letter went on: “The OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has concluded unequivocally that Syrian Arab Air Force helicopters dropped bombs containing chlorine gas in civilian occupied areas, including Talmenes and Sarmin, Idlib on 21 April 21 2014 and 16 March 2015, respectively.”
“It is imperative that Member States of the Security Council—acting collectively or Independently—take measures to hold the Syrian regime accountable.”
The Syrian Coalition reiterated calls on members of the Security Council to assume their responsibilities as set out in the UN Charter and several Security Council resolutions on Syria.
The Coalition’s president called upon the UN Security Council to protect civilians from further chemical weapons attacks by employing measures to ground Assad’s air forces – which are the primary delivery mechanism for chlorine gas.
“The enforcement of a no-bombing zone implemented over all of Syria is a feasible, low risk method to stop the bombs and protect civilians without requiring planes in the air or boots on the ground,” Alabdah added.
Alabdah also called for ensuring accountability for individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and taking action under national or universal jurisdiction through individual Member State governments.
Alabdah reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment “to the goals of the revolution against injustice, tyranny and the criminality of the Assad regime as well as our commitment to the establishment of a civil, modern, pluralistic, and democratic state where all Syrians have equal rights and duties regardless of ethnic, sectarian, religious and tribal affiliations.”
Moreover, Alabdah reaffirmed the Coalition’s commitment “to the fight against terrorism in all its forms. However, we will not defeat terror nor establish a free, democratic Syria, while the Assad regime continues to gas civilians with impunity.”
Alabdah concluded his letter by stressing that “Syria’s civilians need protection from chemical weapons and other internationally banned weapons, as well all indiscriminate airstrikes. Anything less will only condemn more Syrians to death and make a greater mockery of international law.” (Source: Syrian Coalition)