Politics, Middle East, Europe

EU mulls further sanctions on Syrian regime

EU foreign policy chief condemns chemical attacks of Syrian air force exposed by recent report

Agnes Szucs   | 09.04.2020
EU mulls further sanctions on Syrian regime

BRUSSELS 

The European Union is ready to impose stricter sanctions on high-level Syrian regime officials and scientists who were involved in using chemical weapons against civilians, the EU’s foreign policy chief said on Thursday.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published on Wednesday a report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team concluded that Syrian Arab Air Force dropped aerial bombs containing sarin on the East-Syrian town on Ltamenah on March 24 and 30, 2017, as well as a cylinder, filled with chlorine at the town’s hospital on March 25, 2017.

The three attacks together affected at least 106 people and they could only have been carried out “on the basis of orders from the higher authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic military command”, the report claims.

Josep Borrell, the head of the EU foreign policy, welcomed the release of the document.

"The European Union strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force as concluded by the report,” Borrell pointed out.

He reminded that those identified as perpetrators of these “horrible attacks” need to be held accountable since the use of chemical weapons is “a violation of international law and can amount to the most serious of international crimes - war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Syria has been in civil war since early 2011 since the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and more than 10 million others displaced in the past nine years, according to UN officials.

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