Fact Review: Documentation of Expanded Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria
Paris – Syrian Network for Human Rights:
Monday, 3 October 2022: At the invitation of the US Permanent Mission to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), represented by Ambassador Joseph Manso, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, represented by Executive Director, Mr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, participated in an event held on the sideline of the 101st meeting of the OPCW’s Executive Council, entitled: “Reviewing the Facts: Documenting Syria’s Expansive Chemical Weapons Use”.
The event analyzed the history and scope of chemical weapons use in Syria, the impact on victims, and the ongoing work to document and investigate these attacks. It also addressed the importance of documenting facts to counter disinformation and of holding the Syrian regime accountable. Participants also considered the challenges faced by civil society in ensuring the accuracy of reports compiled in the midst of active conflict amid a climate of widespread disinformation, and what action needs to be taken to preserve potential evidence obtained by NGOs to be used in national or international courts, as well as discussing what can be done to maintain awareness and interest in the subject of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and to counter international fatigue.
In his address, Mr. Fadel Abdul Ghany spoke about the Syrian Network for Human Rights’ exhaustive work to document incidents of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, explaining that SNHR has paid particular attention to this issue because chemical weapons are considered to be weapons of mass destruction, and because the Syrian regime was the first to use chemical weapons since the Chemical Weapons Convention was adopted. Mr. Abdul Ghany also referred to the international community’s slow response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria, explaining that the regime had already carried out 30 attacks using chemical weapons before the two Ghoutas attack of 21 August 2013, which attracted the attention of the international community due to the large scale of the attack and the horrific number of victims killed.