21 August 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the appalling sarin gas attack carried out in the Ghouta district of Damascus by Bashar al-Assad’s regime against his own people, killing more than 1,400 people including many children.
On this day of commemoration, France pays tribute to the memory of the victims of this heinous crime. For more than 12 years now the Syrian regime, with the support of its allies, has been regularly committing atrocities that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
France is committed to ensuring that these crimes committed in Syria do not go unpunished. It is a matter of conscience, out of consideration for the countless victims of this violence. And it is also a matter of respect for international law, justice and responsibility, to ensure that Syria can rebuild itself socially and politically.
In particular, the Syrian regime’s documented and irrefutable use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. We condemn in the strongest terms the Syrian regime’s repeated use of these horrific weapons, and reiterate our demand that the Syrian regime comply immediately with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. Syria must fully declare and destroy its chemical weapons programme and authorize the deployment of OPCW staff in its country to verify that it has done so.
France is determined to do what is necessary to ensure that those responsible for the use of these weapons are punished. To this end, among other things, it launched in Paris in 2018 the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, which today brings together 40 States and the European Union, and it continues with its partners to sanction Syrian officials directly or indirectly responsible for these atrocities.
France is also fully mobilized to ensure that an appropriate response is provided to these actions. It was in this spirit that on 21 April 2021, on behalf of 46 States parties, it sponsored the decision ““Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic”, adopted by a very large majority at the 25th Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), sanctioning at the OPCW the Syrian regime’s conduct.
In Syria, as everywhere else, France will constantly seek to obtain justice for the victims of these despicable attacks.