US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said that Russia bears the ultimate responsibility for chemical weapons attacks committed by the Assad regime in Syria.
Speaking at the launch of the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons conference in Paris on Tuesday aimed at stepping up international pressure on perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks, Tillerson condemned Russia for “shielding” Assad against punishment for its actions.
“Only yesterday more than 20 civilians, most of them children, were victims of an apparent chlorine gas attack,” Tillerson said of a chlorine attack carried out by regime forces in eastern Ghouta, which left victims struggling to breathe. He added that such attacks “raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad may be continuing to use chemical weapons against his own people.”
Tillerson slammed Russia for vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions for an investigative body to examine who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
“Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons, since Russia became involved in Syria,” Tillerson told reporters.
“There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the US as a framework guarantor. At a bare minimum, Russia must stop vetoing, or at the very least abstain, from future security council votes on this issue,” he added.
The Syrian Civil Defense corpse said that regime forces on Monday bombed a populated area in the district of Duma in the Damascus suburb of eastern Gouta with rockets loaded with chlorine gas, resulting in the injury of 21 civilians, including children.
The Paris conference brought together about 30 countries to prosecute and hold accountable those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria and to launch an initiative to end impunity for chemical weapons attacks. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)