If cyber-attacks are not enough to get the American people behind war with Russia, then the State Department has gone back to its old playbook. Following the release of a UN report which concluded the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own people, Washington warns that countries that continue to shield the Assad regime will face consequences. The Russians disagree with the UN findings, “we believe that the proof is not there for any punitive action to be taken. It’s simply not there.”
As DW reports, the use of chlorine gas as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013 under pressure from Russia. When it joined, a clause in the agreement allowed the UN to potentially impose sanctions should Syria disregard the convention.
The United States, Great Britain and France want the Security Council to impose sanctions on the Syrian government for breaking the rules laid down in the convention. “There should be accountability for every single person involved in any use of chemical weapons in Syria,” said Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador to the UN.
Francois Delattre, French ambassador to the UN, said those responsible for the “barbaric acts” must be sanctioned. But Russia has questioned whether the investigation’s conclusions link the use of chemical weapons to the Syrian government. Churkin said the report was “not substantiated by sufficient testimonial basis,” and “full of contradictions and therefore, unconvincing.”
Churkin added “Damascus should carry out a comprehensive national investigation” on the incidents in question. “We believe that the proof is not there for any punitive action to be taken. It’s simply not there,” said Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin following a closed-door Security Council meeting. Russia is an ally of the Syrian regime in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The UN-OPCW report confirmed government helicopters from two Syrian regime-controlled air bases dropped chlorine barrel bombs on the villages of Qmenas, Talmenes and Sarmin in the rebel-held Idlib province.