Turkey, France to sue Assad regime for chemical massacres in Syria

Turkey, France to sue Assad regime for chemical massacre

Turkey and France said they want the international organizations to push for the Assad regime to be held accountable for the repeated use of chemical weapons against its own people.

A joint investigation by the United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW found that Assad regime troops were responsible for two toxic gas attacks and Islamic State militants used sulfur mustard gas.

In a statement published Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it expects the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to continue monitoring and reporting “shortcomings and inconsistencies” in the Syrian state’s chemical weapons declarations.

The statement added that Turkey expects institutions to take the necessary steps toward holding the regime accountable for “jauntily performing chemical weapons attacks”.

Turkey said it had been found with certainty that the Syrian regime “failed to fulfill its obligations” following a sarin gas attack carried out in the capital’s Ghouta district in 2013.

“The use of chemical weapons is both a crime against humanity and a war crime,” the ministry said.

A report published this week by the OPCW and the UN confirmed the Syrian regime was responsible for the repeated use of chemical weapons, as was the ISIS terror group.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also said efforts against ISIS would continue “with the same determination”.

France’s statement

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told France’s Le Monde newspaper in an interview published on Saturday that the OPCW’s report was a chance to push Russia to accept a resolution condemning the Syrian government and resume political negotiations.

He reiterated his concerns on Sunday after a meeting with the German and Polish foreign ministers, who all expressed concern about devastating humanitarian conditions in Aleppo.

“We cannot simply ignore this report,” Ayrault said. “We have to send concrete signals and really make a commitment … There can be no shadow of a doubt.”

The U.N. report has set the stage for a Security Council showdown between the five veto-wielding powers, likely pitting Russia and China against the United States, Britain and France over whether sanctions should be imposed as a result.

Ayrault said France was pressing for a condemnation by the Security Council and to create the conditions for resuming political dialogue.

“I see no reason that could be given, or any arguments that could be made, for not condemning the use of chemical weapons,” he said, when asked if Russia would support the resolution.

Russia said on Thursday it was prepared to work with the United States on a response to the U.N. report.