Earlier this month we took a look back at the 2013 sarin gas attacks in Syria. No one has ever been held accountable for those attacks, and now new allegations have surfaced of chemical weapons use against civilians in Syria.
At least one diplomat stationed in Syria is saying that the situation there has become “unacceptable,” and that he (or she—the diplomat spoke under conditions of anonymity) has seen evidence of chlorine gas attacks.
Fox News explains in detail:
Civilians, including children, allegedly have been injured and killed in the latest attacks. In a letter sent this week to the U.N. Security Council from the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, the group cited reports of chlorine gas attacks in the Idlib and Hama areas and urged the creation of a no-fly zone to protect the Syrian people.
“In the past two weeks alone, witnesses and medics on the ground in Idlib and Hama governorates reported at least nine separate instances of toxic chemical attacks — several of them deadly,” the group wrote. “… in each instance, barrel bombs loaded with poisonous chemical substances were deployed from Syrian regime helicopters.”
Representatives from the State Department have said that they’re still investigating the accusations being made against the Assad regime. The United States has submitted a proposal to the UN Security Council regarding the appointment of a special team to investigate previous and current chemical weapons use in Syria, but no action has been taken as of now.
The humanitarian crisis has grown beyond the fallout from gas attacks. A statement released by the Red Cross says that conditions have worsened due to both fighting between government forces and rebel groups, and infighting between the rebel factions themselves.
The ICRC statement came after a two-day visit of the agency’s director of operations, Dominik Stillhart, to the Syrian capital, Damascus, where he met government officials, appealing for more access to areas affected by the fighting, including the violence-torn, besieged Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.
The camp has been the scene of clashes between local fighters and the Islamic State group since the beginning of April. It was the latest tragedy to engulf the camp’s residents, who have already suffered through a devastating two-year government siege, starvation and disease.
About 18,000 people are still in the camp, a built-up area once home to some 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians. The United Nations over the weekend expressed alarm over the continued fighting, along with use of heavy weapons, and airstrikes.
Fighting has also intensified elsewhere in Syria in recent weeks, as rebel advances have pushed out government forces from contested areas in the country’s south and north. Government troops are pushing back.
The US is part of a coalition effort to train Syrian rebels in hopes of creating a force capable of holding back the advance of Islamic extremism. Training has already begun in Jordan, and is set to begin this weekend in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
According to US officials who offered some details about the program, the coalition has spent the past few months vetting the rebel fighters and weeding out potential extremists.
Chemical weapons. Islamic extremists. It’s a war on two fronts—and it looks as though the international community is only interested in fighting on one of them.DONATE
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