Heiko Maas
Heiko Maas Reuters

Germany on Thursday called for stronger efforts to hold accountable all those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in attacks in Syria.

“The Assad regime has committed war crimes time and again, including with the use of chemical weapons against civilians,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

He underlined the important role of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in identifying the perpetrators of these chemical attacks.

“Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable for their crimes. Together with many partners, we have managed to ensure that the independent experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons can now identify the perpetrators of these attacks,” he stressed.

Maas also called on Russia to wield its influence on the Syrian regime over the use of chemical weapons.

“Germany continues -- also at today’s meeting of the UN Security Council -- to campaign resolutely for an end to all uses of chemical weapons and for the Syrian regime to comply at long last with its obligations under international law in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, to fully disclose its stockpiles of chemical weapons and to destroy them under international supervision,” he said.

The OPCW determined last month that chlorine was used in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma in 2018.

The team's mission to Douma was launched amid international outrage over images of adults and children appearing to be suffering from the effects of a toxic weapon attack.

The gruesome footage from the apparent attack horrified the world and prompted unprecedented Western strikes on Syrian military installations.

Western powers led by the United States have blamed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad for the attack and unleashed air strikes on military installations in response.

The Syrian regime repeatedly denies having any connection to chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

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