Head of a UN investigative panel on Syria warned of a “slow motion” disaster unfolding in the province of Idlib, adding that the Commission feared that civilians now concentrated there were “at serious risk about their lives.”
“We have the impression that we are seeing in a slow motion something that will happen, a disaster that will happen in Idlib,” Paulo Pinheiro, Head of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria said.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the UN Security Council behind closed doors on Friday, Pinheiro said that the Assad regime and its allied militias have bombed schools, hospitals, public markets, and water stations in recent months.
Pinheiro said the COI documented the use of chlorine as a weapon in its last two reports and was investigating the use of Sarin in the April 4th attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
Pinheiro said the COI has so far concluded that a series of airstrikes targeting the rebel-held area coincided with the release of a chemical agent, likely sarin or sarin-like, killing 100 people, and a second strike a few hours later impacted a medical facility in the same area.
The Commission was investigating all avenues and exploring all theories regarding the release of the agent, Pinheiro said, but stressed that they were “also conscious that the majority of the victims of this conflict have not perished because of chemical weapons attacks but by conventional arms.”
The Commission continues to investigate the attack on Khan Sheikoun despite the fact that they have not been able to reach the town. Pinheiro went on to say that the Commission talked to witnesses and relatives of the victims and is collecting evidence. He pointed to cooperation between the Commission and intelligence agencies of some countries. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)