Accessibility links

Beyond The Pale, Syria's Use Of Chemical Weapons

A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus August 29, 2013. A team of U.N. experts left their Damascus h

Careful review of the facts leads to the conclusion that the Syrian government was behind this heinous act.

There is no doubt that on August 21st, the civilian population of Ghouta, a restive suburb of Syria’s capital, Damascus, was attacked with chemical weapons. And any careful review of the facts leads to the conclusion that the Syrian government was behind this heinous act.

“We know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons,” said Secretary of State John Kerry:

“We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses.”

“The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself, and that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering,” said Secretary Kerry. “This is about the large-scale, indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all – a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else.”

First used by both sides during World War One, these weapons caused horrible suffering, and those who survived an attack were frequently disfigured, often crippled for life. Determined never again to witness the use of such a horror against human beings, the international community banned the use of chemical and biological weapons through the implementation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, to which Syria is a signatory.

“There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons. There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons and lock them down where they do exist,” said Secretary Kerry.

“Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny.”