France calls for emergency Security Council meeting on Syria chemical weapons attack News
France calls for emergency Security Council meeting on Syria chemical weapons attack

[JURIST] French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault [official profile] condemned [Twitter post, in French] a suspected chemical attack in Syria and called an emergency meeting [statement] of the United Nations Security Council [official website] to address the issue. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) [advocacy website] reported [SOHR report] that an attack took place on a hospital in in Idlib region of Syria, killing 58-including 11 children, involving the use of chemical weapons. It is suspected [Reuters report] that the Syrian government ordered the attack on the rebel-held province. Ayrault stated, “France has, since the start of the conflict, done its utmost to ensure that the international community sheds full light on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, identifies the perpetrators and draws the necessary conclusions in order to put an end to it.”

The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the increasingly bloody nature of the conflict has put pressure on the international community to intervene. In February the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported [JURIST report] that the Syrian government is systematically exterminating detainees. In November Human Rights Watch released a report stating that the practice of caging captured soldiers and civilians constitutes hostage-taking [JURIST report] and an outrage against their personal dignity. In October France opened a torture investigation [JURIST report] into the actions of the Syrian government under Assad in detention facilities. Additionally, Amnesty International released a report [JURIST report] in October detailing the possibility of war crimes in Syria. The AI report criticized the Syrian government by stating that “they have maintained unlawful sieges, restricted humanitarian assistance deliveries, deliberately attacked civilians, and carried out indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, arbitrary detentions, abductions and enforced disappearances.”