Britain, France, US take action over Syria chemical attack

2017-04-05 14:02
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

United Nations - Britain, France and the United States have presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning the suspected chemical attack in Syria and demanding a full investigation.

The text called on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to report quickly on the findings of its fact-finding mission on the attack that killed at least 58 civilians including children in a rebel-held town in Idlib province.

The measure was circulated to the 15 council members on the eve of an emergency meeting requested by France and Britain to discuss the attack carried out in the early hours on Tuesday in the town of Khan Sheikhun.

Britain, France and the United States are pushing for a vote on the draft text during the meeting on Wednesday, but it remained unclear if Russia would support it, diplomats said.

The draft resolution "condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons" in Syria, in particular the attack on Khan Sheikhun and expresses "outrage" over the use of toxic gases in the six-year war.

It requests that the joint UN-OPCW investigative panel set up to determine who is responsible for chemical attacks in Syria begin work immediately to identify the perpetrators of the latest attack.

The text calls on Syria to provide flight plans, flight logs and other information on its military operations on the day of the assault.

Damascus would be asked to provide the names of all commanders of helicopter squadrons to UN investigators and allow them to meet with generals and other high-ranking officials within five days of their request, the draft resolution said.

Syria would also allow UN and OPCW teams to visit air bases from which the attacks involving chemical weapons may have been launched, according to the text.

The draft resolution also threatened to impose measures under chapter 7 of the UN charter, which provides for sanctions.

Clearly a war crime 

Britain, France and the United States blame President Bashar al-Assad's forces for the attack, but the Syrian army has denied any involvement.

At least 11 children were among the 58 dead, and dozens more civilians suffered respiratory problems and symptoms including vomiting, fainting and foaming at the mouth, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

An AFP correspondent in Khan Sheikhun saw many kids on respirators as they were treated for breathing problems.

"This is clearly a war crime," British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

"I call on the Security Council members who have previously used their vetoes to defend the indefensible to change their course."

In February, Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syrians accused of being behind chlorine gas attacks on villages in 2014 and 2015.

A UN-led investigation concluded in October that the Syrian air force had dropped chlorine barrel-bombs from helicopters on three opposition-held villages in 2014 and 2015.

The council on Wednesday will hear from Virginia Gamba, the head of the investigative panel, and top UN disarmament official Kim Won-soo, on details of the attack including whether deadly sarin gas was used.

"The perpetrators must be held accountable. We need to address this issue at the Security Council, as soon as possible," said French Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek.


Read more on:    un  |  us  |  britain  |  syria  |  france  |  chemical weapons

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.