UN: Syria wracked by chemical warfare

UN: Syria wracked by chemical warfare

United Nations (UN) [official website] Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon submitted a report [official press release] issued together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [official website] yesterday detailing an in-depth investigation into chemical warfare used by ISIS and President Assad in Syria. While the report is still confidential, Ki-Moon stated [press release] that he is looking forward to the publication of the report around August 30th. While the use of chemical weapons in warfare is prohibited under international laws of warfare, the UN has suspected Syria of using such weapons for years [JURIST report], even though Syria formally agreed to dispose of their chemical weapons in 2014 [JURIST report].

The conflict in Syria [BBC backgrounder] has continued for five years in a civil war based around the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad [BBC reports]. Earlier this month, Amnesty International said that a suspected chlorine gas attack in Aleppo could amount to a war crime [JURIST report]. The BBC reported that the Syrian government is suspected of using a chlorine gas attack in Aleppo, killing several and injuring many more. Last month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] cluster bombs have been targeted at civilians and rebels in Northern Syria. Last month UN human rights experts called for the immediate protection [JURIST report] of thousands of Syrian civilians. In May Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported that armed opposition groups in Syria are committing war crimes around the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city. Earlier that month top UN official Stephen O’Brien called for the immediate investigation of recent airstrikes in Syria, which may amount to war crimes for intentionally targeting civilians [JURIST report].