A deadly chemical weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the rebel-held town of Idlib province in Syria by its autocratic president Bashar al Assad’s regime, killing about seventy civilians and severely injuring over hundreds, has invited sharp condemnation from around the world.
In Syria where the civil war continues perpetually, the happenings during the last six years prove that Assad would go to any extent to obliterate his opponents. There were allegations of him using the dangerous chemical weapons and toxic gases prohibited in warfare, against his own people without any hesitancy. Even while Assad strongly denies using the chemical armament before the world, Tuesday’s attack in Khan Sheikhoun that wiped out an entire clan of Alyousef family, including 20 children, clearly establishes the truth. The deadly strike on the civilian camp took place at dawn on Tuesday. The people who were sleeping woke up to face death, desperately running to the nearby hospital to save their lives. But the ruthless army bombed the hospital building. Despite all these tragic happenings, the Syrian president lied that the attack was directed against the rebel camps where dangerous weapons including poisonous gases were stored. Russia, Syria’s main backer as well as Iran denied the reports of the attack. But the charitable organizations active in the area as well as the witnesses backed by evidences, testify it as a chemical weapon attack.
Tuesday’s attack came as the UN Security Council held a meeting to discuss Syria. All the leaders who turned up for the meeting condemned the attack and have demanded an isolation of Syria. With the chemical weapon strike confirmed, not only Russia, but also the US that usually pretend to adopt a strong stance against Syria, is also in a fix. A chemical attack in Ghouta, Damascus in 2013 by the Syrian army killed hundreds. The then US president Obama had declared a military offensive targeting the official hubs of Assad who violated the ‘red line’. Obama had then sought the support of the American Congress. Even though Syria had initially denied the incident, it later announced agreeing to the deal banning the use of chemical weapons and destroying the chemical armament following a discussion with Russian mediators. The chemical weaponries brought from Egypt in 1970 was announced to be destroyed last January. But it is clear that Assad has been duping the world until now. It might be because of that fact that even US president Donald Trump changed his usually indifferent stance, sharply condemning Syria.
Beyond such strong expressions of denunciation, the international community haven’t yet succeeded in resolving the Syrian predicament. Although the UN has intervened into the matter right from the start, the peace brokers had eventually given up due to the failed attempts. Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy heading the Syrian peace process, also failed despite his five attempts. Meanwhile, Turkey that views the crisis on the other side of the border as its own, Russia, Syria’s main ally with political interests, and Iran held a talk in Astana, Kazakhstan. The peace talks went ahead with Turkey set to ensure the support of the Syrian opposition while Russia and Iran would make efforts to tame Assad. However, the efforts went in vain due to the boycotting of rebels. There would be no end to the bloodshed on the Mediterranean shores until an effective solution evolves.