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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Statement of Co-Chairmen on Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use in Sarmin, Syria

Mar 24, 2015
Press Release
As Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, we are deeply concerned about recent reports alleging that on March 16th the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad attacked the town of Sarmin, Idlib in the northwestern part of the country using chemical weapons, specifically barrel bombs filled with chlorine gas. According to medical workers on the ground, an entire family of six people died and at least 70 others were so severely affected that they required medical care.

Chemical weapons are indiscriminate. They do not distinguish between combatants and civilians, between soldiers and women, children or the elderly. This is why their use is banned and condemned.

Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013. As recently as March 6th the United Nations Security Council, in response to the results of a fact-finding mission undertaken by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, adopted Resolution 2209 condemning in the strongest terms any use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria. If this week’s reports are verified, it will be the latest instance in which the Assad regime has committed atrocities against the Syrian people, once again flouting international standards and norms.

It is the responsibility of the United States and the international community to adopt comprehensive strategies to ensure that the ban on chemical weapons is enforced; we cannot stand silently by and fail to take action against their use.

114th Congress