The Minister of State for the Middle East, South Asia, UN and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has condemned the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons following the publication of a report by the OPCW which determined that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces used chlorine as a chemical weapon in an attack on Douma in April 2018.
Minister for the Middle East, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, responded to the report:
Today’s report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons provides compelling evidence that this heinous chemical weapons attack in Syria was carried out by the Assad regime against its own people.
We share the OPCW’s assessment on Bashar al-Assad and his regime’s culpability and commend their resilience, professionalism and expert independent analysis in the face of desperate attempts by Syria and Russia to block this investigation.
We remember the victims of the Douma attack and remain committed to pursuing the justice they deserve. We are steadfast in our commitment to holding all those who use chemical weapons to account.
This is the third report by the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) into chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Following a lengthy and meticulous investigation and despite Syria’s attempts to block investigation, the OPCW report has concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Syrian Arab Air Forces were the perpetrators of the chemical weapons attack on 7 April 2018 in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic.
Previous reports from the IIT had found the Assad regime responsible for carrying out three separate attacks with sarin and chlorine in Ltamenah in March 2017 and using chlorine in Saraqib in February 2018. Both are prohibited under international law.
The United Kingdom is determined to identify those responsible for chemical weapons attacks and hold them to account. Following the attack in 2018, the UK and allies identified that a significant body of information indicated the Syrian regime’s responsibility for the attack.
The UK, France and the US also carried out a limited and targeted strike to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. We are clear that we will not allow the use of chemical weapons to be normalised and remain firm in our resolve to respond appropriately.
The OPCW’s meticulous investigations have now confirmed the UK’s assessment that the Assad regime was responsible. The UK fully supports the OPCW’s investigations.
The OPCW membership has suspended Syria’s voting rights and privileges in the OPCW until it complies with its chemical weapons obligations. Syria must fully declare and destroy all aspects of its chemical weapons programme.