Syrian government army responsible for Sarin attack

United Nations General Assembly building in New York

"Government forces continued to deliberately target civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons against civilians in opposition-held areas".

The latest report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria offers among the strongest evidence yet of allegations that Assad's forces conducted the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib province in which dozens of people were killed.

The report also found that United States forces failed to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects when attacking alleged terrorists and destroying part of a mosque complex in al-Jinah, Aleppo, in March, in violation of global humanitarian law.

Twenty-seven were by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, including seven between March 1 to July 7. Investigators have so far been able to pinpoint who was responsible for the six remaining attacks which all occurred earlier in the conflict.

In the most conclusive findings to date from investigations into chemical weapons attacks during the conflict, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said a government warplane dropped sarin on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province in April.

Mr Pinheiro said that he was gravely concerned about the impact of coalition airstrikes and called on the USA to better protect civilians during air strikes on militants in the east of the country.

"The commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Syrian forces attacked Khan Sheikhoun with a sarin bomb at approximately 6.45am on 4 April, constituting the war crimes of using chemical weapons and indiscriminate attacks in a civilian inhabited area", the report said.




Since the April 6 attack on the Syrian airbase, the Trump administration has changed direction in Syria in promising Russia, Assad's staunch ally, to end a covert Central Intelligence Agency program that armed opposition forces there.

This is the first time that a United Nations body has explicitly accused the Syrian government of using sarin, a chemical which pushes the nervous system into overdrive and can kill in minutes. While it's true that chlorine has multiple industrial uses, the same can not be said of Sarin gas used in several attacks over the last few years.

Wednesday's report, the 14th by the commission since it was set up by the UN's Human Rights Council in 2011, is based on information retrieved from satellite images, video, photos, medical records, and over 300 interviews.

The White House last month called on the global community to unite to ensure that anyone using chemical weapons faced "serious consequences" without commenting further on what those would be.

But following an attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta the following year, the United States struck a deal brokered by Russian Federation which saw the bulk of Syria's supplies of sarin removed from the country.

Pinheiro said that most incidents in which civilians are killed and maimed involve the unlawful use of conventional weapons, such as cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.

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