Kerry: Assad violated chemical arms treaty

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday there is evidence Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is using chlorine gas, “in violation” of a global chemical weapons treaty.

We believe there is evidence of Assad’s use of chlorine, which when you use it – despite it not being on the list – it is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Mr Kerry told the US House of Representatives. “He’s in violation of the convention.”

The secretary said the U.S. also had “some questions” about Assad honoring other parts of the weapons treaty.

A United Nations report said in August that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons eight times in April in attacks in northern Syrian villages.

The report by an independent U.N. commission investigating war crimes in Syria said it believed chlorine, dispatched in barrel bombs, was the agent used on multiple occasions.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the chlorine has been dropped, particularly in barrel bombs from helicopters belonging to the government authorities. So the finger points there,” said commission member Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Thai professor who has investigated human rights in North Korea.

The commission also emphasized that Assad’s government forces continue to perpetrate crimes against humanity through massacres and systematic murder, torture, rape and disappearances.

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