Muhammad Najem

Chemical weapons watchdog blames Syrian air force for Douma attack

The global chemical weapons watchdog said a nearly two-year investigation had found that at least one Syrian military helicopter had dropped gas cylinders on to residential buildings in the Syrian city of Douma in 2018, killing 43 people.

the chemical massacre in Douma, Syria, that took place in April 2018 resulted in the death of 43 innocent individuals. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has concluded that the evidence, including environmental and biomedical samples, witness statements, and forensic analysis, points to the responsibility of the Assad regime. The use of chemical weapons is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

The loss of life and the suffering of the families and survivors must be remembered, and those responsible must be held accountable to honor the memory of the victims and prevent such atrocities from happening again.

The latest inquiry identified four alleged perpetrators in one air force unit, but their names were not made public. The findings are based on technical analysis of 70 biological and environmental samples, satellite imagery, 66 witness interviews and ballistic and munitions testing, the OPCW said.

“At least one helicopter of the Syrian Tiger Forces’ Elite Unit dropped two yellow cylinders containing toxic chlorine gas on two apartment buildings in a civilian-inhabited area in Douma, killing 43 named individuals and affecting dozens more,” a summary of the report said.

The Tiger Forces are elite Syrian troops generally used in offensive operations in the war.

“The world now knows the facts,” said OPCW Director-General Ambassador Fernando Arias. “It is up to the international community to take action, at the OPCW and beyond.”

The findings follow an investigation conducted between January 2021 and December 2022. The conclusions were “reached on the basis of ‘reasonable grounds’, which is the standard of proof consistently adopted by international fact-finding bodies and commissions of inquiry,” the OPCW said.

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