Report: Chemical weapons used at least 161 times throughout Syrian conflict

Published March 14th, 2016 - 10:32 GMT
According to a new report, chemical attacks in Syria have gotten worse, with 77 percent of attacks occurring after the UN Security Council ordered the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program in 2013. (File photo)
According to a new report, chemical attacks in Syria have gotten worse, with 77 percent of attacks occurring after the UN Security Council ordered the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program in 2013. (File photo)

As Syria marks the fifth anniversary of its conflict, an NGO report claims that chemical weapons have been used in attacks at least 161 times through the end of last year, causing 1,491 deaths, Associated Press reported. The report claims that such attacks have increased, reaching a high of at least 69 documented attacks in 2015, with 14,581 people injured throughout the past five years.

The Syrian American Medical Society says its report offers the most comprehensive documentation of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. SAMS, the US-based nonprofit supports more than 1,700 workers at over 100 medical centers in Syria. Its report is primarily based on the accounts of medical staff who have treated victims of the attacks, supported by NGOs and other local sources. 

The organization has called on the UN Security Council and the wider international community to identify perpetrators of the chemical attacks and hold them accountable through the International Criminal Court. Much of their data has been shared with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The Syrian government has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons against its own people, even after the UN Security Council ordered the destruction of its chemical weapons following a 2013 attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of civilians.

The SAMS report says 77 percent of the documented chemical weapons attacks occurred after the Security Council's order in 2013. The report, however, does not assign blame for each of the attacks - that is one of the roles of the OPCW.

Reports have also recently surfaced that Daesh has used chemical agents in attacks in Syria.

The OPCW is due to begin investigating a handful of potential cases later this month.


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