UN report concludes Syrian regime routinely used chemical weapons

A long-awaited report issued by the UN on Wednesday, Sept. 6, has concluded Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on more than two-dozen occasions since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

In sum, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria surmised a total of 27 chemical attacks have been perpetrated by Damascus against its civilian population since 2011.

Relying on accounts from survivors, eyewitness accounts, and emergency responders to the scene, the UN report stated:

“(Syrian) government forces continued the pattern of using chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas.”

Among the conclusions drawn in the UN report:  A Russian-manufactured aircraft carried out the sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun and evidence showed either sarin or chlorine gas was used in similar attacks elsewhere.

The report also judged an April 4 chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun was carried out by Damascus, which killed more than 80 civilians and injured hundreds in Khan Sheikhoun. At the time of that attack, Khan Sheikhoun was under the control of al-Nusra Front.

The report also slammed the U.S.-led coalition for failing to take necessary precaution to eliminate or limit civilian casualties.

Citing a March airstrike against a mosque in al-Jinah, Aleppo, which killed 38 non-combatants, the UN commission revealed:

“United States forces failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law.”

The UN also expressed concern over airstrikes conducted against ISIS in its de-facto capital of Raqqa.

The UN report arrives at the same time the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed Russian and Syrian aircraft bombed a SFD position in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria.  The Pentagon backed the charge.

Several SFD troops were injured, but no western military advisors were hurt.

Responding Saturday to the allegation, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) stated it takes every precaution to avoid attacking friendly troops.

Denying the charge, Russian MOD spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said Russian personnel had informed American and SFD forces ahead of the attack.

“To avoid unnecessary escalation, the commanders of Russian forces in Syria used an existing communications channel to inform our American partners in good time,” he said.


[AP via Business Insider] [Deutsche Welle] [Photo courtesy Euronews]