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Diplomats Condemn, Vow to Investigate Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria

  • VOA News

Turkish experts evacuate a victim of a suspected chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian city of Idlib, at a local hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey, April 4, 2017.

Top diplomats are condemning what appears to be a chemical weapons attack that killed least 58 people and injured more than 200 others Tuesday in Syria.

The use of chemical weapons has not been confirmed, but ambassadors have been quick to speak out against the use of these weapons at large.

"The reports we are receiving strongly suggest the use of chemical weapons," British foreign minister Boris Johnson said. "And although we cannot yet be certain about what has happened, this bears all the hallmarks of an attack by the regime, which has repeatedly used chemical weapons."

“The United Kingdom condemns the use of chemical weapons wherever and by whomever they are used and we will continue to lead international efforts to hold perpetrators to account," he continued.

Johnson stated Britain supported the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and would work with them to investigate this attack.

"The OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission is in the process of gathering and analyzing information from all available sources," the organization said Tuesday. "The OPCW strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances."

U.N. ambassadors have also condemned the attack, calling for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss a formal investigation.

“I am horrified by what has happened in Idlib," British U.N. ambassador Matthew Rycroft said. "We do not have all the information yet, but the attack bears all the hallmarks of yet another deliberate campaign by the Syrian regime and their military backers, to use chemical weapons."

"The United Kingdom and France have called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council as soon as the U.S. presidency [of the Council for the month of April] can schedule it to take forward our determination to put an end to these heinous attacks and to make sure that justice can be done for the victims," he said.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, said the attack "looks like it’s a serious chemical agent". "This could only be done by Assad's regime," he said.

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