Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

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The Mission was tasked to oversee the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program. The mission officially ended on 30 September A Russian team investigated the Khan al-Asal incident on 19 March On 27 May , members of the mission were ambushed and briefly held by gunmen in rebel-held territory as it headed toward Kafr Zita to investigate the alleged chlorine gas attacks.

In its third report dated 18 December , the mission concluded that chlorine was used in the villages of Talmenes , Al-Tamanah and Kafr Zita , but did not assign blame. In early the mission disclosed previously undeclared traces of sarin and VX precursor compounds in a Syrian government military research site, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, where use of those compounds had not been previously declared. On 7 August , the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution to establish a joint investigation mechanism JIM to identify the perpetrators responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The resolution was drafted by the United States, and adopted by all 15 members of the Security Council. In January , they declared that they had composed a list of those responsible for using chemical weapons in the war. The list, which has not been made public, is divided into three sections. The first, is titled "Inner-Circle President" and has six people, including Assad, his brother, the defense minister and the head of military intelligence.

The second section names the air force chief and its four commanders, including the heads of the 22nd Air Force Division and the 63rd Helicopter Brigade. The last section titled "Other relevant Senior Mil Personnel" includes two colonels and major-generals. This they said indicates that the decision to use gas came from the very top. In late , the JIM released its report on the April Khan Shaykhun chemical attack , attributing responsibility for the incident to the Syrian government. Reuters reported in that, according to OPCW and diplomatic sources, an OPCW chemical marker analysis linked the destroyed stockpile samples to sarin samples from 21 August Ghouta attack and also to interviewees' samples from Khan Sheikhoun and Khan Al-Assal attack sites.

These findings were not released because they were outside the OPCW's mandate. The factory produces chlorine among other chemicals. In January , US State Department cables showed a US investigation had found evidence that the Syrian military had used a chemical weapon on 23 December , which was the first time an official investigation documented chemical weapon use in the conflict. On 1 June , the Syrian Army reported that it seized two cylinders holding the nerve agent sarin in an area it said was controlled by opposition fighters.

The Syrian government declared the two cylinders "as abandoned chemical weapons" and told the OPCW that "the items did not belong to" them. Security Council about the findings.

Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

Brennan said on 60 Minutes that there were "a number of instances where ISIL has used chemical munitions on the battlefield". On 4 May , the BBC reported that, according to a Western intelligence agency, Syria was violating the disarmament deal by producing chemical and biological munitions at Masyaf, Dummar, and Barzeh.

On 27 June , US officials stated that the Syrian government was preparing at a Syrian base for what seemed another chemical attack. The Trump administration warned that if another attack occurred, President Assad would pay a heavy price.

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This threat comes as the intelligence community states that the activity is similar to the preparations leading to the attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Syrian state news agency SANA , citing a doctor in a Afrin hospital, stated the shelling caused choking in six people. In April , Human Rights Watch published a report based on seven data sources, including the UN investigations, and was able to confirm 85 chemical attacks between 21 August and 25 February , including 50 perpetrated by the government including 42 using chlorine and 2 using sarin and three by ISIS, with the remainder not attributed.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Deir ez-Zor. Qasr Abu Samrah. Khan Shaykhun. Khan al-Asal.

Ashrafiyat Sahnaya. Kafr Zita. Ras al-Ayn. Sheikh Maqsood. Tell Brak. United Nations Arms Control Association. The Guardian.

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Retrieved 7 April Washington Post. Retrieved 20 December The New York Times. Retrieved 27 November The Spectator magazine. Retrieved 30 July Retrieved 14 June The Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 September Der Spiegel. Retrieved 25 October The Hindu.

Chennai, India. Retrieved 30 September Retrieved 28 January RIA Novosti. Retrieved 29 December Retrieved 4 June Retrieved 13 September Retrieved 9 September Retrieved 11 October Guardian UK.

Putin: Syria chemical arms handover will work only if US calls off strike

USA Today. Retrieved 15 September BBC News. Retrieved 25 June Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 17 August Retrieved 21 August Foreign Policy The Cable. Retrieved 16 January Le Monde. Retrieved 29 May Sky News.

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Opposition activists claim Assad's troops used chemical weapons from several rocket launchers in Adra which killed two people and injured more than According to the Arms Control Association , doctors said the weapons used were phosphorus bombs, which affect the nervous system. Human Rights Watch. United Nations Human Rights Council. Retrieved 8 March United Nations. Archived from the original PDF on 18 September Retrieved 27 April Retrieved 12 September The Washington Post.

Archived from the original on 14 February The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2 November ARA News. Financial Times. The Times. The Daily Star. San Antonio Express-News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 3 April Al jazeera. Archived from the original on 20 August Retrieved 16 August Daily Mail. Arutz Sheva. SAMS Foundation.

Archived from the original on 25 August Retrieved 26 August Archived from the original on 5 September The Washington Times. Al Masdar News. Retrieved 12 July Hawar News Agency. Archived from the original on 1 September Retrieved 3 September Archived from the original on 18 October Retrieved 9 October Archived from the original on 27 November Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations.

Syria and the OPCW | OPCW

CBS News. Retrieved 9 April Anadolu Agency. Archived from the original on 4 April Retrieved 9 May Zaman Al Wasl. Retrieved 3 July Blames Assad". Cii Radio. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted. Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets.

This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out. Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.

And I'm prepared to give that order. But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that's why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.

Over the last several days, we've heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session. In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America's national security.

And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote. I'm confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U. I'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable.

As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action. Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.

We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual. A country faces few decisions as grave as using military force, even when that force is limited. I respect the views of those who call for caution, particularly as our country emerges from a time of war that I was elected in part to end.

But if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we just acknowledge the costs of doing nothing. Here's my question for every member of Congress and every member of the global community: What message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? What's the purpose of the international system that we've built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the governments of 98 percent of the world's people and approved overwhelmingly by the Congress of the United States is not enforced?

Make no mistake -- this has implications beyond chemical warfare. If we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules? To governments who would choose to build nuclear arms? To terrorist who would spread biological weapons?

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To armies who carry out genocide? We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us. So just as I will take this case to Congress, I will also deliver this message to the world. While the U. I don't expect every nation to agree with the decision we have made. Privately we've heard many expressions of support from our friends. But I will ask those who care about the writ of the international community to stand publicly behind our action.

And finally, let me say this to the American people: I know well that we are weary of war. We've ended one war in Iraq. We're ending another in Afghanistan. And the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military. In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that's why we're not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else's war.