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US ambassador accuses Russia over Syria’s use of chemical weapons

March 5, 2021 at 12:10 pm

US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and President of the Security Council speaks during a press conference for the Security Council programme of work in March at the UN Headquarters in New York on 1 March 2021. [TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images]

The US ambassador to the UN has accused Russia of seeking to stymie efforts to hold the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad to account for its use of chemical weapons during the country’s civil war, AFP has reported. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is certain that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons repeatedly.

“Why hasn’t the Syrian government been held accountable?” she asked during an online UN Security Council meeting. “The answer is sadly simple: the Assad regime has tried to avoid accountability by obstructing independent investigations and undermining the role and work [of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)].” She added that the regime’s allies, “in particular Russia, have also sought to block all efforts to pursue accountability.”

OPCW investigators have accused Assad’s regime of carrying out sarin gas and chlorine attacks in Syria in 2017. Earlier, in 2013, French intelligence services said that Syrian government forces had killed 1,400 people with a sarin gas attack on the Eastern Ghouta region to the south east of Damascus.

The Syrian government denies that it has used chemical weapons against its own civilians.

Chemical weapons watchdog: Aleppo, Idlib investigations inconclusive