A day after two barrels containing chemical gas were dropped from helicopters in Syria, Russia asked on Monday (February 5) that the UN Security Council create a new inquiry into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria, a move the United States slammed as a bid to distract from a French initiative to target perpetrators of such strikes.
"What do people of all countries see? They see a council that can't agree to take action even after the investigative mechanism created by this Council found that the Assad regime used chemical weapons," US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council.
Chemicals dropped from the air caused at least nine people to suffer breathing problems in an attack in northwest Syria, rescue workers and doctors said on Monday, February 5. The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a charity which supports hospitals in Syria, said its doctors in Idlib reported 11 patients "with symptoms indicative to usage of chlorine." Air raids intensified on rebel-held towns and cities in northwest Syria's Idlib province on Sunday night, a day after rebels shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, with the help of Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, has said he wants to take back control off all of Syria. Syrian government and allied forces have advanced into rebel-held areas of northwest Syria in recent weeks. The Syrian government has consistently denied using chlorine or other chemical weapons during Syria's conflict, now approaching its eighth year.
Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013. In the past two years, a joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin and has also several times used chlorine as a weapon.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>