US accuses Syria of chlorine gas attacks

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.(AFP Photo / Alex Wong)
The US claims Syrian President Bashar Assad has broken the chemical weapons treaty he agreed to earlier this year, by launching chlorine gas attacks in Syrian villages. It comes as the Senate officially approved a plan to arm and train Syrian rebels.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday accused Assad of breaching the terms of the global pact on chemical weapons, by unleashing chlorine gas via barrel bomb attacks earlier this year. 

“We believe there is evidence of [President Bashar] Assad’s use of chlorine, which when you use it – despite it not being on the list – it is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Kerry told the US House of Representatives. “He’s in violation of the convention.” 

Kerry went on to add that Washington is studying ways to hold Assad to account. 

The US official was not alone in what appeared to be a new wave of Western pressure on Assad’s government, which was previously accused of perpetrating deadly chemical attacks in March 2013 near Aleppo and in August 2013 in Ghouta.

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A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.(Reuters / Bassam Khabieh)

A former British army officer who led The Telegraph’s independent investigation into the alleged chlorine gas attacks said Kerry’s comments showed that war crimes were continuing to take place in Syria. 

“Five months after we proved that Assad had the US red line that chemical weapons must not be used, Secretary Kerry has now stated that Assad has broken international law,” Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said. “Since then there have been multiple other incidents including another attack on Kfar Zita that killed one person just a few days ago. Surely there must be action to stop this now.” 

Earlier this month, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – the world’s chemical watchdog – confirmed the“systematic” use of chlorine as a weapon in war-torn Syria. 

Meanwhile, the US Congress has given its finalapproval of a plan to arm and train select “moderate” Syrian rebels who are trying to both overthrow Assad and defeat Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) militants. 

The Senate, controlled by President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, easily passed the measure late Thursday by a bipartisan vote of 78-22. The US will now spend $500 million to arm and train the anti-government militants, as well as to expand its military action in Iraq. 

Read more at RT News

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