Children lie among the dead outside of Damascus, Syria, on August 21 shortly after they succumbed to chemical weapon poisoning. PHOTOGRAPH FROM ERBIN NEWS/DEMOTIX
The US State Department says it has evidence that the Assad regime in Syria committed war crimes using chemical weapons, in a statement on the international anniversary of the victims of the chemical war.
The statement said: “On the anniversary of this day, we remember and honor all the victims of chemical warfare, that the use of chemicals as weapons caused deaths and terrible injuries in our modern history.”
The United States supports a total ban on the production and use of chemical weapons and urges the full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the statement said. The statement also stressed US support for the OPCW’s work to ban chemical weapons.
“Unfortunately, there are places in the world where chemical weapons continue to be used with impunity,” the State Department statement said, citing State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagos’ Twitter account.
In Syria, Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons every year since Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. The United States recently provided evidence that the Assad regime used chlorine gas as a weapon in May 2019 and sarin in August 2013 in Ghouta, resulting in More than 1,400 civilians have been killed. Assad is responsible for countless atrocities, some amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the use of chemical weapons.
The statement called on the Assad regime to stop using these prohibited weapons.
The United States commended the ongoing work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Syria. In particular, the efforts of OIC investigators working to expose those responsible for the use of these weapons in Syria.
The United States appealed to all countries to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention and hold those who use it to account.