The chemical attack launched by the Assad regime in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rural Idlib on Tuesday has sparked international outrage, with Arab and Western countries as well as the United Nations condemning the crime and calling for accountability.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Russia and Iran, Assad’s main allies and guarantors of the Astana cease-fire process, “bear great moral responsibility” for the Idlib attack. He called on Moscow and Tehran to use their influence and ensure that no more similar attacks occur.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the attack.
“In the face of such serious actions that threaten international security, I ask for everyone not to shirk their responsibilities. With this in mind, I ask for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council,” Ayrault said in a written statement.
Ayrault also stated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was “an unacceptable violation” of the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) and a new indicator of the barbarity affecting the Syrian people for over six years.
The European Union condemned the “awful” attack, adding that the regime of Bashar al-Assad bears responsibility for the attack.
“Obviously, there is a primary responsibility there of the regime because it has responsibility of protecting its people not attacking its people,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.
The “horrific” attack came from the air, according to the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, who called for “clear identification of responsibilities and accountability.”
Meanwhile, the United States, Britain and France on Tuesday proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn the deadly attack.
The draft text says the Assad regime must provide an international investigation with flight plans and logs for Tuesday, the names of all helicopter squadron commanders and provide access to air bases where investigators believe attacks using chemicals may have been launched.
The draft text asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report monthly on whether the Assad regime is cooperating with an international investigation and a fact-finding mission into chemical weapons use in Syria.
The draft resolution “expresses its outrage that individuals continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and expresses its determination that those responsible must be held accountable.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)