Syrian opposition urges no-fly zone after chlorine gas attack

Published March 18th, 2015 - 08:33 GMT

The main umbrella group of Syrian opposition factions on Tuesday urged the UN to establish a no-fly zone in Syria following an alleged chlorine bomb attack carried out by the regime in an opposition-held town.

Najib Ghadbian, the UN representative of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, said individual member states should bypass the deadlocked Council to establish the zone.

"The Security Council has the legal authority and responsibility to take such action. But given the propensity of two of its members recklessly and repeatedly to wield their vetoes in support of the Syrian regime, we must look outside the Security Council for help," said Ghadbian, referring to Russia and China, which have blocked four resolutions addressing the conflict.

The coalition's call came a day after the Syrian government forces allegedly launched a chlorine gas attack on a town in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing a family of six, including three children.

Reports of the attack followed a March 6 Security Council resolution that condemned the use of chlorine attacks in Syria.

Ghadbian said a no-fly zone would ensure safe zones on the ground to protect civilians, open the way for humanitarian aid, enable refugees to return to Syria and create the conditions needed to fight terrorist groups such as Daesh.

"Failure to do so will prolong the suffering and loss of innocent Syrian lives, and will allow the direct security threat to the region and the world to become ever more imminent," he said.

The Syrian opposition has repeatedly accused the Assad regime of using chemical and toxic weapons against civilians and committing massacres since an August 2013 incident that killed more than 1,400 civilians.

The Syrian civil war, which entered a fifth year this month, has claimed more than 220,000 lives, according to the UN.

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