Syrian government accused of chemical warfare
Published: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2013 14:09
The world is awaiting an official response from the international community in regards to reports of President Bashar al-Assad using sarin gas on residents living outside of Damascus, the capital of Syria. There was an estimate of 3,000 casualties in what is the first known chemical weapon attack since 1988.
The Syrian government denies these allegations, blaming the attacks on the rebel forces. Despite the persistent denials, the United Nations arrived outside of Damascus this week to investigate these charges.
In an official statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the use of chemical weapons is “undeniable,” though the United Nations official report has yet to be released.
“The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself, and that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering,” Kerry said. “This is about the large-scale, indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all, a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else.”
After widespread chemical weapon use during World War I, 38 states agreed in 1925 to ban chemical and biological weapons as per the Geneva Protocol.
Following reports of the attack, U.S. Naval Forces moved toward Syria, with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirming President Barack Obama has asked the military to prepare military options in Syria. Similarly, British warplanes arrived on Monday at its air force base on Cyprus, less than 100 miles from the Syrian coast.