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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday backed a recent report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that says the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
“This latest finding should come as a surprise to no one. The Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities, some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Ned Price, the spokesman of the US Department of State, said in a statement.
“The regime has consistently responded with death and destruction to calls by 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.”
OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) released its second report on April 12, attributing yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria to the Assad regime.
The IIT report concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe that on Feb. 4, 2018, in Saraqib, Syria, the Syrian Arab Air Force dropped a cylinder containing chlorine, which dispersed over a large area. This act imposed deliberate and unconscionable suffering on Syrian victims.
The State Department said in the statement that the US concurs with the OPCW’s conclusions cited in this report 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.
“The Assad regime continues to ignore calls from the international community to fully disclose and verifiably destroy its chemical weapons program. The OPCW report is but the latest reminder of Assad’s flagrant repudiation of the rule of law,” the statement read.
The US lauded the “impartial and independent work” of the OPCW, saying: “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. The United States condemns the use of chemical weapons, by anyone, anywhere at any time. 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 called for holding the regime accountable for its crimes.
“All responsible nations must stand in solidarity against the deployment of chemical weapons by preserving the global norm against such use, and we must be ready to hold the Assad regime, and anyone who chooses to use these horrific weapons, accountable.” — Agencies
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