For Immediate Release
To interview any of the doctors referenced in this release, please contact [email protected] or call Kat Fallon on +19785058231
Syrian doctors call on UN ‘to use force if necessary’ following chemical weapons report
25th August 2106 — The UN should use any means necessary – including military action – to end the use of chemical weapons in Syria and punish those responsible, according to doctors working in the country. Their comments follow the release of a damning UN report leaked yesterday.
The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism report clearly identifies the Assad regime as responsible for at least two chemical weapons attacks in Idlib province, in clear breach of Security Council resolution 2118. It also finds the Islamic State guilty of a third in Marea.
Dr. Mohammed Tennari is director of the Sarmin field clinic in Idlib and treated victims in the chlorine attack on 16th March 2015. He also testified about his experience in front of the UN Security Council. Responding to the leaked report, he said:
“When I showed the video I took of three babies from the Taleb family suffocating to death in my hospital, there were tears in the eyes of Security Council members. But some said they didn’t have proof of who committed this chemical attack. They said the perpetrators should be stopped and punished, but only once the world knew who was responsible. They know now.
“They must enforce their own resolutions, which call for action under Chapter VII. The Security Council should use force if necessary to ensure that the Assad regime commits no more chemical attacks against civilians and is held accountable.”
Dr. Houssam Alnahhas is a representative of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) and the local coordinator of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Taskforce in Syria (CBRN-TF). He responded to the Talmenes attack. Dr. Alnahhas said:
“I will never forget the 350 victims from the Assad regime’s chlorine attack in Talmenes. Mohamad was a six year-old boy who was on his way to school when the barrel bomb filled with chlorine hit – he lost consciousness from the gas and died.
“It’s an important moment for those who have suffered and died from chemical attacks by the Assad forces. But what is more important for us is to prevent more chemical attacks on Syrians by any means necessary, and to have international justice for the criminals who have committed these war crimes. We need justice for the 1,500 Syrians who have died from chemical attacks.”
James Sadri, Director of The Syria Campaign, said:
“The UN wanted proof that Assad was using chemical weapons against his own people, and this report provides the smoking gun. The Security Council must hold the Assad regime accountable and stop future chemical attacks against civilians, including by the use of force if necessary.
“Russia and the rest of the Security Council asked for this investigation and refused to act before it was published. Now we have this evidence, any country that blocks action against the Syrian government is responsible for the killing of innocent people in the cruellest way imaginable.”
For more information contact [email protected] / Kat Fallon, Senior Humanitarian Advocacy Lead at The Syria Campaign at +19785058231
Notes to Editors
– There have been 166 chemical attacks in Syria since the start of the conflict. The most recent was August 10th in eastern Aleppo City, during which a woman and her two children were killed by suffocation from chlorine gas.
– The April 21st, 2014 chemical attack in Talmenes, Idlib, killed 3 people, including Mohammad Abdul-Razzak Alhashash, a 6-year-old boy, and injured 350. Injured victims described a helicopter flying over the area when it threw two big containers filled with chlorine at 11:45 am. One of the containers fell in a residential backyard, and the second container hit a house.
– The March 16th, 2015 chemical attack on Sarmin, Idlib, killed a family of 6 and injured 120 people. Barrel bombs filled with chlorine hit a house and a residential area in the neighboring town of Qaminas. One of the barrel bombs fell through a shaft in the house, filling the ventilation with gas and turning the family’s basement into a makeshift gas chamber.
– 82% of the total chemical attacks in Syria have occurred after UNSC Resolution 2118.
– Over 14,681 Syrians have been affected by chemical exposure over the last four years, and there have been at least 1,496 deaths from chemical attacks.
– Resolution 2118, and two following resolutions 2209 and 2235, put forth that if there is any further use of chemical weapons in Syria, including chlorine, the UN Security Council will impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
Reference for all stats quoted: Report by Syrian American Medical Society
The Syria Campaign is an independent advocacy group campaigning for the protection of civilians. Find out more at www.TheSyriaCampaign.org