(Washington, D.C.)--The deadly war for control of Syria has taken a gruesome turn for the worse with the heinous attack against civilian populations on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21. The available evidence, including credible reports from Doctors Without Borders, strongly suggests that the many injuries and deaths reported were the result of a major chemical weapons attack. In this instance, the use of chemicals was more significant and the casualties were greater than earlier suspected episodes involving chemical munitions--and more brazen given that UN inspectors had just arrived in Damascus.
The U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on a small scale, the White House said.
Differences over language addressing the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria sharply divided the recent review conference for the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Four new states have acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) since January 2013, bringing the total number of states-parties to 170.
The U.S. intelligence community has tentatively concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, but is seeking further evidence.
Responding to a request from the Syrian government, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing to conduct an investigation into claims of chemical weapons use in Syria.
The European Parliament passed a resolution Jan. 17 calling for a conference to be held in 2013 on establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
As the 188 states-parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prepare for the next treaty review conference in April, current and former officials of the international body charged with implementing the pact say treaty members and that body have overcome some of the most difficult issues facing the 1997 treaty but should take additional steps to strengthen the CWC regime in the years ahead
The current situation in Syria poses severe risks, but it may be creating an opportunity for the international community to put in place important constraints on Syria’s chemical weapons and armory of missiles.