The evidence points to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against civilians in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, the European Union announced yesterday (8 April). Rescue workers in the besieged enclave found at least 42 people dead in their homes from apparent suffocation.
The Saturday chemical attack drew immediate condemnation from the United States and the European Union, but Moscow and Tehran – the allies of the Assad regime – dismissed the allegations of a chemical attack as a hoax. “The evidence points towards yet another chemical attack by the regime,” the EU said in a statement. “It is a matter of grave concern that chemical weapons continue to be used, especially on civilians. The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons and calls for an immediate response by the international community.”
US President Donald Trump called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name and warned of a “big price” to pay. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… [to pay]”.
The European Union called on the UN Security Council to identify the perpetrators of the latest atrocity by re-establishing its checks. Brussels also urged Russia and Iran to use their influence in Syria to prevent further deadly attacks. In the meantime, the Assad regime denied that government forces had launched any chemical attack in the besieged town.