United Nations investigators say Assad carried out sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun

07 September, 2017, 02:03 | Author: Gary Shelton
  • Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria wipes his eyes during a press conference about the launch of the 14th report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syriaon its investigations of alleged human rights violations

The commission said the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack killed at least 83 people and wounded 293.

- Investigators believe chemical weapons including Sarin were used around 27 times.

It said that a raid by a Russian-made Sukhoi-22 dropped four bombs: three conventional and one filled with "sarin or a sarin-like substance".

"Reporting on such heinous crimes and violations is the core of our work", said the Commission Chair, adding that the panel has a duty to attribute responsibility accordingly, regardless of the perpetrator.

Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria wipes his eyes during a press conference about the launch of the 14th report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syriaon its investigations of alleged human rights violations

"Information gathered by the Commission does not support the claim that any such meeting was being held at that time", the United Nations report said.

The Assad government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.

Investigations are ongoing into allegations that worldwide coalition airstrikes, carried out as part of the ongoing offensive to repel ISIL from Raqqa, have resulted in increasingly alarming numbers of civilian casualties. The plane is used only by the Syrian air force.

The report also says a USA strike on a mosque complex in March that killed 38 people violated worldwide law.

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The United States was also cited in the report for what they claim were legal strikes against Al Qaeda militants at a mosque.

The commission's report said that the USA targeting team "lacked an understanding of the actual target, including that it was part of a mosque where worshippers gathered to pray every Thursday".

The latest report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria offers among the strongest evidence yet of allegations that Assad's forces conducted the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib province in which dozens of people were killed. Residents interviewed by the commission and first responders suggested the attack happened during a regular religious gathering.

The report also notes that despite tenuous progress in the war-torn country, civilians continue to suffer from widespread humanitarian violations - and highlights a "genuine, concerted, and sustained action from national and global actors to find a political solution and to put an end to grave violations of human rights and the laws of war". That group confirmed in June that sarin was used in Khan Sheikhoun, but did not identify the attacker.

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But following an attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta the following year, the U.S. struck a deal brokered by Russian Federation which saw the bulk of Syria's supplies of sarin removed from the country.

Although, at times, witnesses told the commission that fighters were injured or killed in chemical weapons attacks, the report notes that "the use of chemical weapons is prohibited in all circumstances, including when a military objective is present".

President Assad's forces were guilty of the attack.

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