Syria's chemical weapons: IPPNW statement of concern

IPPNWi Executive is alarmed by reports that the Syrian government may be preparing to use sarin agents or other chemical weapons. Such an act would be a war crime. (MAPW is the Australian affiliate of the global IPPNWi.)

IPPNWi's statement of concern follows recent reports that suggest that the Syrian government may be preparing chemical weapons.

The statement notes that "nerve agents, including sarin and VX, and mustard agents are banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention and other relevant international humanitarian law. All of these agents are capable of inflicting rapid, mass casualties, without discrimination between civilians and combatants."

"Nerve agents are extremely toxic chemicals capable of causing death within minutes. A milligram of sarin may constitute a lethal dose for a healthy adult."

"Given the chaotic and deteriorating conditions in Syria, it is highly unlikely that any meaningful medical care could be rendered to the victims of a chemical weapons attack, who could number in the tens of thousands. The use of these weapons against a neighboring country would have incalculable consequences."

In July, then Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi told a news conference broadcast on Syrian state TV that  “Any chemical or biological weapons will never be used, I repeat, will never be used in the Syrian crisis, no matter what the internal developments in this crisis are.” He went on to state that "All varieties of these weapons are stored and secured by the Syrian armed forces and under its direct supervision, and will not be used unless Syria is subjected to external aggression." Mr. Makdissi reportedly left the country earlier this month.

IPPNWi also urges the international community to set an early date for the UN-sponsored conference on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East that was scheduled to take place this month in Helsinki but was regrettably postponed.