The Syrian Coalition called on the UN Security Council to take action under Chapter VII of the United Nations to hold the Assad regime accountable for the crime of using chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun. A panel of UN investigators has confirmed that the Assad regime is fully responsible for the sarin attack on the rebel-held town.
Yasser al-Farhan, member of the Coalition’s political committee, said that action must be taken in accordance with Article 21 of UN Security Council resolution 2118, which called for action under Chapter VII in cases of non-compliance with the surrender or use of chemical weapons.
The Assad regime repeatedly used chemical weapons, poisonous and prohibited gases, committed war crimes and bombed civilian areas in violation of the Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions 2118, 2209, 2235 and 2254. The Assad regime would not have dared to commit these crimes had it not been for the lukewarm international positions which are indifferent to the lives of civilians.
Al-Farhan stressed that Russia’s continued blocking of international justice and its repeated use of veto power against the international consensus at the UN Security Council requires member states to act outside the Council. He said that action is urgently needed within the United Nations or in a coalition established under a special agreement or taken unilaterally to save the Syrian people and the values of the free world.
Experts from the UN and the chemical weapons watchdog blamed the Assad regime the April 4 sarin nerve gas attack that killed over 90 people in Khan Sheikhoun.
Their report, which was submitted by the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council on Thursday, said leaders of the expert body are “confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.”
The report said the JIM (Joint Investigative Mechanism) experts talked with 17 witnesses in addition to those interviewed by the OPCW fact-finding mission and collected and reviewed material the OPCW did not have. It said the experts also obtained “substantial information” on activities by the Syrian air force on April 4.
The experts determined sarin was released from a crater in the northern part of Khan Sheikhoun between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. April 4.
According to the report, the JIM leadership panel concluded the Syrian military was behind the sarin attack based on the following “sufficient, credible and reliable evidence: Aircraft dropped munitions over Khan Sheikhoun between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on April 4; Syrian aircraft were “in the immediate vicinity” at that time; The crater was created that morning; The crater “was caused by the impact of an aerial bomb traveling at high velocity.”
Responding to the report, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said: “Today’s report confirms what we have long known to be true. Time and again, we see independent confirmation of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.” Clearly referring to Russia, she said: “In spite of these independent reports, we still see some countries trying to protect the regime. That must end now.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)