Two Israeli bombing raids inside Syria in 2020 and 2021, which previously had been shrouded in mystery, were in fact part of a covert campaign to stop “a nascent attempt by Syria to restart its production of deadly nerve agents.”
ARTICLE LINK https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-689421/
A 2021 investigative team with the international group that monitors compliance with the chemical weapons ban accused the Syrian government on Wednesday of having launched three chemical weapons attacks on one village in northern Syria in March 2017, sickening scores of people.
The team, established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said in a report that in the span of one week, Syrian fighter jets had twice dropped bombs containing sarin nerve agent on the village and a helicopter had targeted its hospital with a cylinder containing chlorine.
Reports of chemical weapons use have surfaced frequently during Syria’s nine-year civil war, and officials from the United States, Turkey and other countries have accused the Syrian government of using banned weapons to try to break the back of the rebel movement that is seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
The O.P.C.W. verified the use of chemical weapons in many of these cases, but had refrained from assigning blame for who deployed them, raising criticism from activists that holding back such judgments diminished the chances for accountability.
So the organization established an investigative body, known as the Investigation and Identification Team, that was assigned to determine responsibility for chemical weapons use in Syria. The report on Wednesday was the team’s first, and it pointed the finger at Mr. al-Assad’s forces.
The team based its investigation on a range of evidence, including witness testimonies, videos, forensic reports on recovered munitions scraps, medical records and satellite imagery, the report said.
While acknowledging reports of dozens of chemical attacks in Syria, the report focused on three, in the rebel-held village of Ltamenah in northern Syria during the last week of March 2017.
Despite the mounting evidence of repeated chemical weapons use by Mr. al-Assad’s forces, little has been done by the international community to hold them or their leaders accountable.