Syrian chemical attacks, France calls for sanctions

ayrault speaking at the Un
Kena Betancur / AFP

France seeks sanctions from the UN over the use of chemical weapons.

The 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 put under sanctions, reported AFP.

“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 criticisms came a day after U.N. experts said in a report that the Syrian army had attacked a village with chemical weapons in 2015. ISIS has also been accused of using mustard gas as a weapon.

“The Syrian army and ISIS have used chemical weapons against civilians on at least three occasions, these acts are inhuman and unacceptable,” Ayrault said.

“France will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which has now been confirmed beyond doubt and 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 frequently asked for sanctions, especially against the Syrian regime, over the use of chemical weapons in the five-year conflict.

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

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