A report by the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) found that chemical weapons have been used in Syria much more frequently than previously thought.
According to the report which was published by the German news magazine Der Spiegel, there have been a total of 336 “credibly proven” attacks with chemical warfare agents such as chlorine gas or sarin.
The investigation found that in 98 percent of cases, the Assad regime is said to have been responsible for the attacks.
The international team of experts assessed the attacks on the basis of corroborating sources or medical examinations of the victims.
The investigation came one month after the criminal court of Antwerp ordered three Belgian companies to pay a sum of €750,000 euros in damages over export of chemicals to the Assad regime, which it used in attacks claiming the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.
At the first trial in the Belgian city of Anvers, the court charged three firms for exporting 24 shipments of chemicals between May 2014 and December 2016 in which 168 tons of Isopropanol were also exported to Syria and Lebanon. Prosecutors said the chemicals could potentially be used in producing the nerve gas Sarin.
Last month, a group of Syrian activists and artists launched a campaign on social media to remind the world of the Assad regime’s crimes as they called for holding the Assad regime accountable for the crimes it committed against Syrian civilians using chemical weapons.
Organizers of the campaigners also called on the UN Security Council to enforce resolution 2209 stating that chlorine gas is a chemical weapon and that its use violates the international law and resolution 2118.
The Assad regime forces used poison gas in attacks on several parts of Idlib, Hama and Homs in central Syria as well as in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta. Human rights organizations have repeatedly called for putting an end to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The European Union has begun imposing sanctions on senior Assad regime officials since 2017, including Bashar al-Assad and members of his family for involvement in the country’s chemical weapons program.
The Syrian Coalition expressed it full support for these sanctions as it called for activating the work of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to hold accountable those involved in war crimes in Syria. It said accountability is essential part of the political solution which was set out in the international resolutions on Syria, most importantly the Geneva Communique of 2012 and UN Security Council resolution 2254. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)