Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat accused the Syrian regime of conducting new chemical strikes that he called a test of “international will,” Reuters reports.
“These continuous violations by the Damascus regime require the international community to take firm action against the continuous defiance of international, Arab and Islamic will,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told journalists in Riyadh on Tuesday.
His statement came in reaction to reports of several chemical strikes conducted on Friday and Saturday in Syria’s three-year-old civil war. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and its opposition have blamed one another for the attacks, which allegedly involved releases of chlorine gas in the rebel-held town of Kfar Zeita.
The Saudi foreign minister said the new allegations constitute an affront to the U.N. Security Council’s 2013 call for Assad’s regime to eliminate its chemical arms. The government joined an international chemical-arms ban and agreed to eliminate its stockpiled warfare substances after a sarin gas assault in August prompted threats of international military intervention in the conflict.
The regime’s disarmament pledge does not extend to chlorine, which has peaceful applications. Still, the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits use of the substance in combat, according to former British military officer Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.
The issue expert said chlorine is easy to obtain in Syria, but added that the material reportedly fell from aircraft in the recent alleged attacks.
“As far as I am aware, the opposition does not have helicopters,” de Bretton-Gordon said.
What We're Following See More »
The stand off between President Trump and A.G. Sessions is escalating. But Sessions is standing his ground and getting work done. "Officials said Sessions is due to announce in coming days a number of criminal leak investigations based on news accounts of sensitive intelligence information. And within hours of Trump’s public broadside, the Justice Department announced it would change a police funding program to add new requirements that cities help federal agents find undocumented immigrants to receive grants."
"Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations." Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said hope “is dying” for improved relations because the scale of “the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time." The bill passed with only three "no" votes.