During the United Nations emergency meeting held today after the suspected chemical attack in Syria yesterday, countries expressed their outrage of the potential war crime and urged the international community to seek a fact-finding investigation to determine who is responsible for the attack.
António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, declared in Brussels on Wednesday that “war crimes are going on in Syria.”
“The time has come to act collectively with all necessary firmness,” France’s ambassador to the United Nations, François Delattre, told fellow Security Council members. “The world is watching us.”- New York Times
The suspected chemical attack occurred yesterday in the Northern Syrian province of Idlib and resulted in the deaths of over 70 men, women, and children. The World Health Organization believes that a nerve agent such as sarin gas was used based on the symptoms that were reported. According to NBC News, “Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konoshenkov said the deadly leak came from a rebel workshop used to make chemical weapons.” The US and other nations have blamed President Assad for the deadly attack.
The U.S. called it a “chemical weapons attack” and said President Bashar al-Assad was responsible. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Syrian ruler had acted with “brutal, unabashed barbarism.”- NBC News
President Assad and the government of Syria have denied their involvement in the attack. President Assad and his father Hafez al Assad have a history of the using of chemical weapons on their citizens as well as other humans rights violations since the family took power in 1970, one of the largest and well-known attacks was on the city of Hama in 1982 as the regime battled the Muslim Brotherhood. In the 1982 siege on Hama, tens of thousands of civilians died and the government was suspected of using hydrogen cyanide. In 2014 and 2015 the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) determined that the Syrian government used chlorine gas on civilians.
While this article was being written, the UN Security council meeting was still ongoing. The overall consensus of the meeting was absolute disgust, not only of the chemical weapons used in Idlib yesterday but the continuous images of violence that is plaguing the nation. The majority of the countries that addressed the Security Council were in support of the UN resolution seeking a fact-finding investigation.
CNN quoted US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley as stating, “When the UN consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” Haley said, adding that if the UN doesn’t take action, “we may.”- CNN
Below was a live feed of the UN Security council meeting:
Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L.Lang