France sanctions companies and persons for enabling Syria’s chemical warfare

Syrian experts reported on Monday that President Bashar Assad’s regime conducted a fresh chemical-warfare attack.

January 25, 2018 05:21
2 minute read.

Smoke rises after what forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said were warehouses for rebel fighters in al-Maslamiyeh village. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The government of France sanctioned companies as well as 25 individuals for their role in aiding Syria’s chemical-weapons program, French media outlets reported on Tuesday.

“The list published in the government’s official gazette gave the names and addresses of traders and businesses based mostly in Beirut, Damascus and Paris, as well as a Chinese businessman from the export hub of Guangdong,” according to the French wire service APA.

The punitive measures will include freezing assets for those Syrian, Lebanese or Canadian individuals “with companies working in electronics, metal work, logistics or shipping.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said: “We don’t have enough information to enable us to take this up to the political level in Syria.”

Syrian experts reported on Monday that President Bashar Assad’s regime conducted a fresh chemical-warfare attack. Reporter Julian Ropcke, who covers the Syrian conflict for Germany’s largest daily, Bild, tweeted on Tuesday that “22 civilians, most of them children, suffered from intoxication after another Assad regime Chemical Weapons [Chlorine gas] attack on East Ghouta. The gas was delivered in nine Katyusha rockets.”

The Syrian-based human-rights and rescue relief organization White Helmets also tweeted a video on Tuesday of “a little baby, just one of the children who was poisoned by chlorine gas this morning in Douma City in eastern Ghouta #ghoutaisbleeding.”

The Jerusalem Post reported in 2013 that German companies supplied the Syrian regime with dual-usage chemicals, which can be applied for military and civilian use, as late as 2011.

The chemicals involved – sodium fluoride, hydrofluoric acid and ammonium hydrogen fluoride – can be used to manufacture sarin, the deadly nerve gas used during the 2013 attack on the edge of Damascus, which killed more than 1,400 people, according to the US government.

The German government has declined to sanction companies and individuals involved in delivering chemical agents to Assad’s regime.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has played a critical role in advancing Assad’s chemical arsenal beginning as early as 2004.

Prominent British publication Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in 2005 that the Iran would work with Syria to build an “innovative chemical warfare program.”

Iran’s role was to build equipment to produce “hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin and mustard [gas].”

The Post also examined German intelligence reports over the last three years that showed Iran sought to procure illicit chemical-weapons technology in the Federal Republic.

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