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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Report concludes that Assad regime used chemical weapons in 2017

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

A new report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) attributes three instances of chemical weapons use in 2017 to the Assad regime in Syria.

The report from the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) concluded that there are grounds to believe that the Syrian Arab Air Force dropped aerial bombs containing sarin in Ltamenah on March 24 and March 30 in 2017. Further, the report found that a cylinder containing chlorine was dropped on the Ltamenah hospital on March 25, 2017.

“At approximately 6:00 on 30 March 2017, an Su-22 military airplane belonging to the 50th Brigade of the 22nd Air Division of the Syrian Arab Air Force, departing from Shayrat airbase, dropped an M4000 aerial bomb containing sarin in southern Ltamenah, affecting at least 60 persons,” the OPCW report released April 8 stated.

The U.S. State Department supports the work of the OPCW and shares its conclusions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities, some of which rise to the level of war crimes. In the Syrian civil war, more than half a million Syrians have died, and 11 million people have been displaced since the conflict began. The regime has detained more than 100,000 people, many of whom have been tortured and killed, Pompeo said.

The new report is the latest in the growing body of evidence that the Assad regime uses chemical weapons attacks in Syria, he added.

“Despite Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, the Assad regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons attacks every year since then to retain its grip on power,” Pompeo said.

The Syrian regime retains sufficient chemicals – specifically sarin and chlorine – and has the expertise from its traditional chemical weapons program to use sarin to develop new chemical weapons, Pompeo added.

“The United States condemns the use of chemical weapons as reported by the OPCW IIT and demands that the Syrian Arab Republic immediately cease all development, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons,” Pompeo said. “The United States commends the thorough investigations and expert work of the OPCW, which has again demonstrated that its efforts in Syria are unbiased and professional. No amount of disinformation from Assad’s enablers in Russia and Iran can hide the fact that the Assad regime is responsible for numerous chemical weapons attacks.”

Pompeo continued, “We urge other nations to join our efforts to promote accountability for the Syrian regime and uphold the international norm against chemical weapons use. The unchecked use of chemical weapons by any state presents an unacceptable security threat to all states and cannot occur with impunity.”