The Syrian regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons has been scientifically linked to one of the worst atrocities of the Syrian civil war for the first time.
Offering support to Western condemnations of the brutal Syrian government, lab tests run by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) revealed matching signatures in samples taken from the chemical weapons handed over by the Syrian regime in 2014 and those taken from the deadly 2013 sarin nerve gas attacks on Khan al-Assal in Aleppo and Ghouta in Damascus and the 2017 attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, Reuters reported Tuesday.
OPCW linked the Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad to the attack on April 4, 2017, in a report to the U.N. Security Council in October 2017. In response to that attack, which left dozens dead, the Trump administration heavily bombed the Syrian air base that launched the devastating chemical weapons attack on civilians. OPCW did not reveal the results of investigations into the attacks in 2013 because those incidents were outside its official mandate.
Syria, supported by Russia, has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in the war, but the evidence is stacked against the cruel Syrian regime.
The attack in Eastern Ghouta in August 2013 by some estimates killed as many as 1,400 Syrian people, making it the deadliest chemical weapons attacks of the Syrian civil war that began seven years ago. The results of the OPCW tests, which have been confirmed by people involved but not by OCPW, appear to scientifically link the Assad regime to this deadly attack.
Prior to the attack, former President Barack Obama declared the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war a “red line,” indicating the U.S. would use military force in response to such behavior. After the attack in Ghouta, the Obama administration backed down, opting for a diplomatic solution, one in which the Syrian government offered to dispose of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Chemical weapons attacks continued in Syria despite strong claims from senior Obama administration officials that the weapons had been destroyed. This left the Trump administration to take action to address a problem unresolved by its predecessors.
The issue is still a serious problem, as the U.S. recently accused the Syrian government of launching chlorine gas attacks on civilian populations in pockets where resistance continues.
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