Joint Investigative Mechanism Report on Khan Shaykhun and Um Housh

Press Statement

Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 27, 2017

On October 26, 2017, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) issued its latest report which concluded that the Assad regime used the chemical weapon sarin in the horrific April 4, 2017 attack that killed scores of people in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. The report also determined that the Islamic State extremist group was responsible for using ‎the chemical weapon sulfur mustard on September 15 and 16, 2016 in Um-Housh, Syria.

This new report confirms unequivocally what the United States and many in the international community have stated publicly for many months – that the Assad regime carried out the heinous April 4 attack killing approximately 100 innocent Syrian civilians, including many children, and injuring hundreds more.

The Security Council must send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons by anyone will not be tolerated, and must fully support the work of the impartial investigators. As Ambassador Haley has emphasized, countries that fail to do so are no better than the dictators or terrorists who use these terrible weapons. By attempting to undermine and eliminate the JIM, Russia has demonstrated once again that it values protecting its ally the Assad regime over stopping the monstrous use of chemical weapons. Syria’s blatant disregard for international norms and standards should be met with condemnation and accountability by all members of the international community.

Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons and failure to destroy its chemical weapons program in its entirety are clear violations of Syria’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 2118. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances and reiterate our commitment that those responsible will be held to account.