Despite all ‘red line’ warnings, chemical weapons have been used in the Syrian civil war since 2012. Global condemnation of these attacks aside, nothing seems to have changed in the field.

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to the United Nations speaks to journalists after the talks on Syria in Vienna on January 26, 2018.
Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to the United Nations speaks to journalists after the talks on Syria in Vienna on January 26, 2018. (AFP)

Syria's ongoing seven-year long civil war has seen many atrocities and horrors - including the use of chemical weapons.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis only recently accused the regime of repeatedly using chlorine as a weapon, while Washington has said it is prepared to consider military action if necessary to deter the attacks. The Syrian regime denied all allegations.

Here is a timeline of chemical weapons usage in Syria:

23 July 2012

Then-foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi confirms that the Syrian regime has chemical weapons. He says the weapons will only be used against “external aggression,” not against the Syrian people.

“Any stock of WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) or unconventional weapons that the Syrian Army possesses will never, never be used against the Syrian people or civilians during this crisis, under any circumstances,” Makdissi says, according to a New York Times story in 2012. “These weapons are made to be used strictly and only in the event of external aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”

20 August 2012

Former US President Barack Obama says the usage of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime is a US "red line" and any attempt to move or utilise of those weapons would see the US intervening in the conflict. 

Former US President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria crosses a
Former US President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria crosses a "red line," triggering greater US involvement in the crisis (file photo). (AP)

23 December 2012

The first allegation of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime emerges. Seven people are killed in Homs by a “poisonous gas” allegedly used by the Syrian regime. 

19 March 2013

Syrian regime and opposition fighters accuse each other of launching a deadly chemical attack in the Khan al Assel neighbourhood of Aleppo and the Damascus suburb of al Atebeh. At least 25 people were killed in the attack. 

A United Nations investigation later finds that the victims were killed by the poisonous sarin nerve gas, but the report does not conclude who triggered the attack.

21 August 2013

More than 1,000 people, many of whom were civilians, are killed in a gas attack in Ghouta region. A UN report found that many are asleep when the attack occurred, and they suffered from convulsions and foaming at the mouth.

Syrian opposition activists claim that the large-scale chemical weapons attack occurred at the suburbs of the Ghouta region, where Syrian regime forces had been attempting to expel rebels.

The United Nations Security Council holds an emergency meeting regarding the attack. The meeting produces a statement demanding further clarity as to the incident.

31 August 2013

After the Syrian regime crosses the "red line" by using chemical weapons in civilian areas, US President Obama told that the US is prepared to strike whenever they choose, but that "he would seek authorisation for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress."

28 September 2013

Choosing not to intervene in Syria, the US reaches a deal with Russia, securing an agreement in a UN Security Council resolution.  

According to the agreement, Syria would abandon its chemical weapons stockpile and chemical weapons experts would be given unfettered access for inspections.

10 August 2016

According to a New York Times article a hospital is hit by a chlorine gas attack in Aleppo where chlorine appears to be the key agent.

The attack is not confirmed by any independent organisation.

7 September 2016

Syrian opposition activists stated that Syrian regime uses chlorine gas in an attack in Aleppo that leaves at least 80 injured.

4 April 2017

A Sarin gas attack reportedly kills up to 100 people including civilians in Syria's Idlib province.

The attack is believed to have been perpetrated by the Syrian regime due to the type of aircraft in the area at the time. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announces that it is investigating the reports. 

“The Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017,” the report from the UN and the OPCW’s Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) said. 

The Syrian regime denies it is responsible for the attack. 

6 April 2017

The United States bombs  an air base in Syria from where the Assad regime is believed to have launched the April 4 attack. 

The UN Security Council calls for an emergency meeting concerning the Idlib attacks. President Donald Trump condemns the attack in a press conference and said: “I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me – big impact. My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much… You’re now talking about a whole different level.”

This satellite image released by the US Department of Defense shows a damage assessment image of Shayrat air base in Syria, from which - allegedly- the 4 April chemical attacks conducted, following US Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes on Friday, April 6, 2017 from the USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Porter (DDG 78), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.
This satellite image released by the US Department of Defense shows a damage assessment image of Shayrat air base in Syria, from which - allegedly- the 4 April chemical attacks conducted, following US Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes on Friday, April 6, 2017 from the USS Ross (DDG 71) and USS Porter (DDG 78), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers. (AP)

4 February 2018

The Syrian Civil Defence search-and-rescue group says on Sunday night (4 February) that three of its rescuers and six others were injured by chlorine gas in Saraqeb, a rebel-held town less than 16 kilometres from the front line with regime forces. The Syrian American Medical Society says its hospitals in the area treated 11 patients for chlorine gas poisoning.

The Trump administration on Thursday accused Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver deadly poisons. 

US officials say the world needs to find a way to stop the attacks. The Syrian regime rejects the US' claims.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies