US suggests Syria violated Chemical Weapons Convention

A UN chemical weapons expert, inspects the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

A UN chemical weapons expert, inspects the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. A UN chemical weapons expert, inspects the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Photo: REUTERS

State Department says chlorine might have been weaponized, but not included in agreement to rid Syria of its most deadly chemical arms.

(SOURCE)   WASHINGTON – Syria may have violated a United Nations convention against the use of chemical weapons only seven months after joining the treaty, the US suggested on Tuesday. The claims came after reports surfaced last week that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces might have deployed chlorine on the battlefield.

At least two died in the alleged chemical assault on a village in a rebel-held area, while dozens of others were wounded.

“We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical” in the town, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a routine news briefing. “We are examining allegations that the government was responsible. Obviously there needs to be an investigation of what’s happened here.”

Syrian opposition activists reported that helicopters dropped chlorine gas on Kafr Zeita on April 11 and 12. On April 13, the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, told the ABC program This Week that the attack was “unsubstantiated.”

Chlorine is not categorized as a particularly hazardous chemical in the agreement reached among the US, Russia and Syria last fall, which requires that the Syrians destroy all of their most deadly chemical weapons stockpiles.

Over 86 percent of those weapons, formally classified as Priority 1 and 2 chemical arms, have been removed from Syria, the State Department said on Tuesday, stating that chlorine has many peaceful uses. Nevertheless, “the use of any toxic chemical to cause harm or cause death would be a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Psaki said.

The Syrian government failed to meet a February 5 deadline to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors, some 1,300 tons, out of the country. It has since agreed to remove them by late April.

Some US lawmakers who have expressed deep skepticism about the chemical weapons agreement said the report, if verified, backed their long-standing call for President Barack Obama’s administration to provide more support for Syrian rebels.

“The Assad regime continues to carry out war crimes in its slaughter of innocent men, women and children,” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a frequent critic of Obama’s foreign policy, said in a statement. “Its breach of the chemical weapons agreement should surprise no one, and unless the Obama administration is willing to force a price for such behavior, we should only expect more atrocities to come.”

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1 thought on “US suggests Syria violated Chemical Weapons Convention

  1. I bet there will come a day after a substantial length of time when all sides will forget what the main objective really was in the 1st place as to what they were even fighting for in the beginning. Confusion tends to always set in, and more division too.

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