The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Office of Strategic Consultation held an online panel discussion on the findings of the latest report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which confirmed the Assad regime’s responsibility for three chemical weapons attacks on the town of Latamina in rural Hama in 2017. The panel discussion also discussed the impending enforcement of the Caesar Act to impose sanctions on the regime and its backers.
Keynote speakers at the discussion, which was moderated by Head of the Official, Ahmed Ramadan, included Yasser Al-Farhan, member of the SOC’s political and legal committees, and director of Harmoon Center for Contemporary Studies, Samir Seifan. Around 50 experts and researchers in political, legal and strategic affairs also took part in the discussion.
The panel discussion was held under the title “the political and legal implications of accusing the Assad regime of using chemical weapons and its coincidence with the impending enforcement of the Caesar Act.” Participants agreed with the report conclusion that the attacks are of a special strategic nature and can only occur under orders from the higher echelons of the regime’s military command.
Seifan talked about the importance of the report in confirming the Assad regime’s responsibility for the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria and exposing those who are seeking to cover up the regime’s crimes, especially Russia’s repeated use of veto to block any Security Council resolution condemning the regime.
Seifan pointed to the fact that the OPCWs’ report is supported by the UN General Assembly which approved its mandate at its last meeting in 2019, which reflects a broad consensus within the Assembly.
Farhan suggested that the report confirmed the Assad regime’s systematic criminal behavior. The report also confirmed that there is no alternative to enforcing fair accountability mechanisms by supporting the implementation of Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118, and Article 6 of Resolution 2209 calling for taking immediate measures to hold those involved to account.
Ramadan said that the OPCW’s report and the enforcement of the Caesar Act constitute strong pressure on all states to prevent the restoration of relations with the regime that is committing widespread crimes and using chemical weapons. They also constitute pressure on the regime and its backers to reengage in the political process and support political transition in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012. (SOC’s Media Department)