Issue Brief on “Syria: The Chemical Blame Game”


On April 4, 2017, a lethal chemical weapon attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a Syrian town in the in rebel-held Idlib province left 80 dead and more than 557 badly injured.[1] The town was held by the rebel, al-Nusrafront, a sub group of Taliban. The chemical used was reportedly the sarin gas, the most deadly of the chemical weapons used in the Syrian civil war since the Ghouta chemical attack in 2013.[2]

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson strongly condemned the attack and said that “this is third allegation of the use of such weapons in the past month, it is clear that this is how Bashar al Assad operates. Those who defend him should have no misapprehensions about Assad.”[3] Furthermore, Tillerson also said that Russia has failed in its responsibility to secure Syria’s chemical weapons under the 2013 agreement brokered with President Obama.[4] The White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made a reckless statement about Assad, comparing him with Hitler. He later apologized.[5] Such statements create skepticism about America’s role in the Syrian unrest.

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