At UN, Syria Tries to Divert Chemical Weapons Focus Onto Israel
Hours after Tuesday’s deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province, an Assad regime representative in New York said the Syrian government condemned the use of all weapons of mass destruction, and then tried to turn the attention onto Israel and other critics instead.
Speaking at the U.N. Disarmament Commission session, the delegate called chemical weapons use “intolerable and immoral” and pointed out that Syria is party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).
“Ironically,” he said, Syria’s efforts in support of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction were being blocked by other nations, in their determination to preserve Israel’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
He directed this criticism specifically at France, whose delegate had earlier noted the latest chemical attack in Syria and recalled that international investigators already have blamed the Assad regime and ISIS for previous such “inhuman” attacks.
The Syrian delegate accused France of collaborating with Israel’s nuclear program in decades past, and of arming terrorist groups in today’s conflict in Syria, including with toxic weapons.
At the previous day’s opening of the U.N. Disarmament Commission’s 2017 session, Syria and its close ally Iran both accused Israel of introducing weapons of mass destruction into the region.
(On the same day, Iran was elected “by acclamation” – that is, no country objected or called for a vote – to the position of rapporteur for the 2017 session of the body, which deals with nuclear and conventional arms reduction and non-proliferation.)
“The Israeli regime introduced terrorism to our region – nuclear terrorism, chemical, biological and radioactive terrorism,” charged the Syrian representative, accusing Israel of providing toxic weapons and training to terrorist groups in Syria including the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra.
Citing unspecified “international reports,” he went on to accuse Israel of using chemical and biological weapons “many times against the people in the region, in Syria, Lebanon and in Palestine.”
There is no record of any such non-conventional weapons use by Israel.
The Assad regime, meanwhile, is widely held responsible for the deaths of at least 1,429 people in a chemical attack in Ghouta, near Damascus, in August 2013.