Images of scores of dead civilians without wounds after an attack outside Damascus on Wednesday, convinced many that the accusations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria are credible.
Because the victims are from areas controlled by the rebels, the opposition accused the government forces of Al Assad of carrying the attack. The Al Assad forces denied all involvement and Russia said it was a rebel’s staged attack precisely when a UN team investigation the use of chemical weapons is in other parts of the country.
Logic says the UN team have to go to investigate the recent attack immediately, but they need the Government’s consent to do so. Let’s see what happen: If they allow the team that is already in Syria to go to the scene or they ask for a new mandate and a new team that would postpone the investigation.
But what Syria needs is that this kind of attacks stop and never happen again, and for that there is not an answer from the international community. The peace talks are continually postponed. there are no cease-fire negotiations, and in the UN Security Council there are not hope to reach a unified decision with countries with veto on the side of the “opposition” like the US, France and de UK and others on the side of the Government of Al Assad like China and Russia.
The UN Security Council discussed in a closed-door session the situation in Syria after the alleged gas attack on Wednesday. Here is what the press release said about that briefing.
Following a late-day closed-door briefing to the UN Security Council on the latest developments, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson reiterated Mr. Ban’s deep shock at reports of chemical weapons use in Syria.
“We see the need to investigate this as soon as possible; no matter what the conclusions, this represents a serious escalation with grave humanitarian and human consequences,” he said.
He added that the UN investigation team is “in place” and that he and Mr. Ban Ki-moon hope the Syrian Government will give its consent so that the probe can be carried out.
“This should also be seen in the larger and broader perspective, namely the great need for cessation of hostilities,” he said of the dramatic situation, underscoring that: “What this incident has shown is that we must contain this conflict,” especially given its regional implications, and now, the possibility of the use of chemical weapons, which is to be investigated.
Stressing that there has been no confirmation of chemical weapons use, the Deputy-Secretary-General said senior UN officials are in contact with the Syrian Government.
Also at the microphone, Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, President of the Security Council during the month of August, said there is “strong concern among the Council members” about the allegations, and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and that the situation has to be followed carefully.
A UN team is currently in Syria spending up to 14 days, with a possible extension, probing the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Government at Khan al-Asal, as well as two other allegations reported by Member States.
The team “is following the current situation in Syria carefully, and remains fully engaged in the investigation process that is mandated by the Secretary General,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson told journalists in New York.
According to the agreement reached in Damascus in July, the two parties are discussing, in parallel, other allegations and their related sites.
“Professor Sellström is in discussions with the Syrian Government on all issues pertaining to the alleged use of chemical weapons, including this most recent reported incident,” the spokesperson noted.
He added that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is aware that a number of Member States, the Arab League and the European Union have expressed grave concern about the most recent reports of the possible use of chemical weapons.
Mr. Ban and the Security Council reiterated that the use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would violate international law, and reaffirmed the need for a “thorough investigation” of the alleged incidents, according to the spokesperson, as well as a need to cease hostilities.