Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON: A joint statement by the foreign ministers of the U.K., France, Germany and the U.S. on Wednesday condemned the “use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere.”
The statement was released on the anniversary of a deadly chemical attack on Syrian people in Khan Sheikoun by Syrian regime forces.
“Today marks one year since the heinous attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, where Assad’s forces unleashed sarin nerve gas with tragic consequences for hundreds of men, women and children,” the statement said.
The joint statement by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his French and German counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, as well as John Sullivan, Acting Secretary of State of the U.S. said: “For more than seven long years there has been no let-up in the atrocities committed by the Syrian regime […] in flagrant violation of international law.”
“The suffering that has been inflicted on the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its backers is abhorrent,” it said, adding: “In 2013, Russia promised to ensure Syria would abandon all of its chemical weapons.”
Reminding that the international investigators mandated by the UNSC have found Assad regime “responsible for using poison gas in four separate attacks,” the statement said Russia reacted “by using its Security Council veto to sh-ut down the investigation” ins-tead of fulfilling its promise.
“Each time a chemical weapon is used, it undermines the global consensus against their employment,” it said.
Syrian regime forces carried out 214 chemical attacks against the opposition since 2011, according to a Syrian watchdog. In a statement on Wednesday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said these attacks have claimed the lives of at least 1,421 people.
A total of 187 children and 244 women were among the victims, the SNHR added.
The Syrian regime has carried out 11 chemical attacks since the Khan Sheikhoun attack, according to the NGO.
“Further, any such use in clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention gravely undermines the rules-based international order,” the joint statement said.
“We condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere,” it said, adding: “We are committed to ensuring that all those responsible for their use are held to account. We will not rest in our efforts to seek justice for the victims of these abhorrent attacks in Syria.”
Last year, a UN investigation panel has concluded that Syrian regime forces were responsible for the sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. (AA)