Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Syria's government killed civilians with chemical weapons in April finds UN inquiry

Syrian forces dropped chemical weapons on the rebel held town of Khan Sheikhun killing 80 civilians in April, confirmed a UN Commission of Inquiry On Syria on Wednesday.

Documenting a litany of rights abuses and violations of international law, the Commission’s press release, said,

“Government forces continued to deliberately target civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas. As part of an aerial campaign in northern Hama and southern Idlib, on 4 April the Syrian air force used sarin in Khan Shaykhun, killing over 80 people, most of whom were women and children. The aerial campaign also targeted medical facilities throughout the area, resulting in a severe weakening of their ability to provide assistance to victims of the sarin attack and a consequent increase in the number of civilian casualties. ese attacks constitute clear violations of international humanitarian law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons, the report notes, which the Syrian Arab Republic ratified in 2013 following a previous sarin attack.”

The report also found that US forces failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attaching alleged terrorists.

Speaking in Geneva, the chair of the commission Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said most incidents which civilians are killed and maimed involve the unlawful use of conventional weapons, such as cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on The Syrian Arab Republic has been mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011.

The most recent report is scheduled to be presented on 18 September during the interactive dialogue at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.