US Blames Assad Regime for Worst Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria in Years

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April 5, 2017

Experts Available for Comment

The United States on Tuesday blamed the Syrian government for carrying out one of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks in years in Syria.  Airstrikes on the northwestern town of Sheikh Khanoun, a rebel-held town administered mainly by al Qaeda and other Islamist groups, delivered an unidentified chemical agent early Tuesday morning.

Experts have stated that the victims’ symptoms are emblematic of a nerve gas, such as sarin, and that the number of deaths are too high for an outdoor chlorine attack.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry denied involvement in Tuesday’s attack, saying it was committed to its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has previously expressed concern about possible undeclared chemical weapons activities in Syria, and found that the Syrian government used chlorine gas as a weapon three times in 2014 and 2015, in violation of the CWC.

Experts Available for Comment

For more on the implications of this latest development, the following CNS experts are available for comment:

  • Leonard Spector
    Executive Director, Washington, DC Office
    lspector@miis.edu • 202.842.3100 x 302
  • Chen Kane 
    Director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program
    ckane@miis.edu • 202.842.3100 x 303
  • Raymond Zilinskas 
    Director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program 
    rzilinskas@miis.edu • 831.647.6545
  • Philipp Bleek
    Fellow, CNS and Assistant Professor at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies
    pbleek@miis.edu  • 831.647.6509

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