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France seeks sanctions over chemical attacks in Syria

JM Lopez, AFP archive | Volunteers wear gas masks during a class on how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on September 15, 2013

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Saturday asked the UN Security Council to condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and urged that those behind the attacks be placed under sanctions.


"I want... a clear condemnation of these crimes in a resolution from the UN Security Council... that places the perpetrators under sanctions," Ayrault said.

The minister's comments came a day after UN experts said in a report that the Syrian army had attacked a village with chemical weapons in 2015. The Islamic State group has also been accused of using mustard gas as a weapon.

>> Read more on 'Dozens hospitalised after suspected chlorine gas attack in Syria’s Aleppo'

"The Syrian army and Daesh have used chemical weapons against civilians on at least three occasions," Ayrault said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to IS.

"These acts are inhuman and unacceptable," he said in a statement.

"France will not accept that the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which has now been proven beyond doubt... should remain unpunished," he said.

"We call on all our partners in the Security Council to assume their responsibility."

The United States, Britain and France have repeatedly called for sanctions, particularly against the Syrian regime, over the use of chemical weapons in the five-year conflict.

However President Bashar al-Assad's main backer Russia, a permanent Security Council member, has cast doubt on the UN experts' findings, claiming that they are not sufficiently conclusive to warrant sanctions.


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