STATEMENT: Reports of Chemical Weapons Used in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta
Rethink Rebuild Society (RR) and the Syrian British Medical Society (SBMS) express their outrage at the suspected use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta yesterday, and calls for immediate investigations into their alleged use.
A press release by the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations reported yesterday March 7th a chlorine attack that hit the towns of Saqba and Hammourieh in Eastern Ghouta around 9.00pm Damascus time which affected more than 50 people. Dr. Imad Kabbani, manager of the Damascus and Rural Damascus’ Directorate of Health, dismissed an alleged chemical attack earlier this week but confirmed yesterday’s chlorine attack. The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) reported treating 29 patients with symptoms of a chlorine attack yesterday in one of their facilities.
More than 85 people have been killed yesterday in what was one the most devastating nights Eastern Ghouta had endured over the past years, with Syrian regime attacks reported to have used napalm and cluster bombs in addition to chemical weapons. As a result of the severe bombardment, an aid convoy originally planned to enter Eastern Ghouta today has been postponed.
According to SAMS, yesterday’s chlorine attack was the fifth chemical weapon attack in Eastern Ghouta and the eighth in Syria this year only. Moreover, a report released yesterday by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria confirmed the documentation of the regime’s use of chemical weapons during its fighting with rebel groups in Harasta in November of last year.
RR and SBMS demand an immediate investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons towards determining the validity of these attacks. While world powers continue to reiterate their commitment to preventing the use of chemical weapons, such as the latest “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons” initiative, such attacks are believed to have continued. Use of such weapons are a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Syria is a signee, and perpetrators must be held accountable. We urge the enforcement of UN resolution 2401 that called for a 30-day ceasefire, the entry of direly needed humanitarian relief and the evacuation of medical cases to end the indescribable suffering of civilians in the enclave.
8 March 2018