The United States condemned Syria's use of chemical weapons against its people, after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released its second report attributing yet another chemical attack to the Assad regime on February 4, 2018, in Saraqib, east of Idlib.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the US concurs with the OPCW’s conclusions and continues to assess that the Assad regime retains sufficient chemicals to use sarin, to produce and deploy chlorine munitions, and to develop new chemical weapons.
Price urged Syria in a press release to adhere to its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 2118.
He indicated that the Assad regime continues to ignore calls from the international community to fully disclose and verifiably destroy its chemical weapons program, adding that the OPCW report is but the latest reminder of Assad’s "flagrant repudiation of the rule of law."
The spokesman stressed that this report should not come as a surprise to anyone, as the Assad regime is responsible for "innumerable atrocities", some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, asserting that the regime has consistently responded with death and destruction to the calls of the Syrian people for reform and change.
“These well-documented atrocities include the use of chemical weapons, and this most recent report follows the first from IIT last year that attributed three other chemical weapons attacks to the Assad regime.”
Price asserted Washington’s support to the OPCW, particularly the IIT Fact-Finding Mission and Declaration Assessment Team.
“We applaud the OPCW’s leadership and Technical Secretariat for the professional manner in which they carry out their mission. To be clear, no amount of disinformation, conspiracy theories, or distortion of the facts by the regime or its enablers can argue away Assad’s crimes,” he indicated.
Price reiterated that the United States condemns the use of chemical weapons, by anyone, anywhere at any time, noting that the use of chemical weapons by any state or non-state actor presents an “unacceptable security threat to all states and cannot occur with impunity.”
The US State Department called on all responsible nations to show solidarity against the deployment of chemical weapons by preserving the global norm against such use.
“We must be ready to hold the Assad regime, and anyone who chooses to use these horrific weapons, accountable,” warned Price.
Last March, the US Representative to the UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of defending Assad “despite its chemical weapons attacks,” obstructing independent investigations, and undermining efforts to hold the Syrian government accountable not only for using chemical weapons but for “numerous other atrocities.”
She stressed during a UN Security Council Briefing on Chemical Weapons in Syria that resolution 2118 approved in 2013 ensures there will be "serious consequences" against the relevant authorities in Damascus.
During the session, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu provided her latest briefing to the 15-member Council outlining developments in advancing the implementation of resolution 2118 regarding the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Syria rejected the report calling on the member states at OPCW to resort to an objective approach and hold a constructive discussion that allows the Organization to work according to the technical feature it was based on.
The newly appointed Syrian representative to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, warned of the hostile, politicized method against Damascus and calling for halting this method.
Sabbagh urged member states at the OPCW not to be driven to a US-French draft resolution and confront it to avoid dangerous repercussions on the future work of the Organization.