Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Middle east

Rights group blames Syrian regime for chemical attack

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-10

The international NGO Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the Syrian government was most likely responsible for two deadly chemical weapons attacks near Damascus on August 21.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday it had concluded that two chemical weapons attacks on two Damascus suburbs that killed hundreds of civilians on August 21 were likely to have been carried out by the Syrian government.

US Government map of areas reportedly affected by Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack

A 22-page report issued by the international NGO said that the munitions appeared to be a weapons-grade nerve agency, most likely Sarin.

HRW said it had analysed eye-witness accounts, seen the physical remnants of the weapon system and investigated the medical symptoms of the victims.

“Rocket debris and symptoms of the victims from the August 21 attacks on Ghouta provide tell-tale evidence about the weapon systems used,” said HRW’s Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert.

“This evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government troops launched rockets carrying chemical warheads into the Damascus suburbs that terrible morning.”

The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the attacks and has blamed opposition groups.

Protecting civilians

“The increasingly evident use of chemical weapons in Syria’s terrible conflict should refocus the international debate on deterring the use of such weapons and more broadly protecting Syria’s civilian population,” Bouckaert said.

The United States says more than 1,400 people, including 400 children, were gassed in the attack, which has prompted the threat of punitive military strikes by President Barack Obama.

Other outside estimates have set a lower but still high death toll.

Western states and the Arab League have condemned the alleged barrage as a war crime and blamed it on Assad's regime, which has denied the charges.

HRW also said two kinds of rockets appeared to have been used – a 330 mm rocket with a warhead designed to carry a large payload of liquid chemical agent, and a smaller 140 mm rocket capable of carrying a warhead packed with 2.2 kilograms of sarin.

Human Rights Watch described the attack as the first major use of chemical weapons since the Iraqi government gassed Iraqi Kurdish civilians in Halabja 25 years ago.

Date created : 2013-09-10

  • RUSSIA - SYRIA

    Russia urges Syria to hand over chemical weapons

    Read more

  • USA - SYRIA

    Assad warns 'everything possible' if Syria attacked

    Read more

COMMENT(S)