The Syrian Crisis: Use of Chemical Weapons and International Implications (October 2013)


© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Overview of the latest UN official documents, EU official documents, publications of the Consortium, and publication from the network regarding the ongoing Syrian crisis.

On the 21st of August 2013, the agricultural belt around Damascus (Ghouta) was the scene of a chemical weapons attack that caused the death of hundreds of civilians. According to many sources, evidence indicates that the Syrian regime is responsible for these attacks which appear to be the first confirmed use of CW in decades and a breach of the international taboo on CW use enshrined in the 1925 Geneva Protocol.


EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, speaking at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Vilnius on September 7, described this attack as « a blatant violation of international law, a war crime and a crime against humanity » and stated that « a clear and strong response is crucial to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity ».

And Catherine Ashton to add: « The EU urges the UN Security Council to unite in its efforts to prevent any further chemical attack. To that effect, it encourages the UNSC to fulfill its responsibilities and take all initiatives to achieve this goal ».

Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton
following the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers,
Vilnius, 7 September 2013.

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