It has been two years since the horrific chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, and almost one year since the attack in Douma, Syria. These attacks killed over one hundred innocent men, women, and children, and significantly injured hundreds more. The Assad regime perpetrated these attacks to instill fear and confusion. The regime’s barbaric history of using chemical weapons against its own people cannot and will not be forgotten. The United States, along with the vast majority of the international community, remains determined to hold the Assad regime accountable for these heinous acts. We will continue to pursue all efforts to uphold the global norm against the use of chemical weapons.
The regime would not be able to continue its campaign of violence against the Syrian people without help from its allies, Russia and Iran. Russia continues to shield the Assad regime from accountability for its continued use of chemical weapons, including by conducting an elaborate disinformation campaign blaming the West and even Syrian humanitarian groups for fabricating reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, and using its veto power repeatedly at the United Nations Security Council to dismantle the independent investigative mechanism designed to attribute responsibility for these attacks. Russia’s disinformation campaign aims to cover up the Assad regime’s culpability in the deaths of its own civilians.
The United States will continue to actively support all appropriate avenues to advance accountability, including through the UN Security Council, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism for Syria, and the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.
If the Assad regime repeats its use of chemical weapons, it will be met with a swift and appropriate response from the United States and the international community.