by WorldTribune Staff, August 25, 2016
A United Nations investigation found that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) carried out attacks using chemical weapons.
The UN’s Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) found that the Syrian regime dropped chemical weapons on two villages in northwestern Idlib province: Talmenes on April 21, 2014 and Sarmin on March 16, 2015, AFP reported on Aug. 24.
In both instances, Syrian air force helicopters dropped “a device” on houses that was followed by the “release of a toxic substance,” which in the case of Sarmin matched “the characteristics of chlorine,” the UN investigation found.
The UN report said ISIL used “sulphur mustard” in an attack on the town of Marea in northern Aleppo province on Aug. 21, 2015.
Under a 2013 deal brokered by Russia and the United States, Syria had agreed to destroy its chemical weapons, but the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has since found chlorine has been “systematically and repeatedly” used as a weapon by Assad.
Assad’s government denies using chemical weapons and said any claims that his forces did use them are only meant to “serve political agendas.”
The UN report said that in the three cases it had “sufficient information to reach a conclusion on the actors involved.”
Based on the findings, the Security Council could decide to impose sanctions on Syria or ask the International Criminal Court to take up the matter as a war crime.