March 09, 2018

Chemical weapons in Syria: a real-false red line?

Featuring Nicholas Heras

Source: L'Orient Le Jour

Journalist Julie Kebbi

If confirmed, it would be the fifth chemical attack on Eastern Ghouta in less than two months. According to the NGO Union of Relief and Medical Organizers (UOSSM), a chlorine attack was reported on Wednesday evening in the cities of Saqba and Hammouriyé. The UOSSM reports about 100 people affected, while the White Helmets evoke about fifty victims. A report of the commission of inquiry of the UN on the crimes of war published Tuesday in Geneva also accuses the Assad regime to have resorted to chemical weapons, in particular in the sector of Eastern Ghouta.

While Washington and Paris have repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a red line for punitive strikes, the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian sponsors continue to act impunity, taking advantage of the "gray areas" of this doctrine. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has yet again promised yesterday a "French response" in case of proven use of chemical weapons. "Today there are clusters of convergences, clusters of indications that suggest that the chemical weapon can be used or has already been used," he added to CNews, stating that France "Has no evidence" yet.

Read the full article in L'Orient Le Jour.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...