London, 6 Apr – Following the deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria earlier this week, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged Russia and Iran to prevent the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons against his own people.
He released a statement on Tuesday, in which he said: “While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed barbarism.”
It continued: “Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable.”
He urged Assad’s allies in Tehran and Moscow to commit to a peace agreement and ensure that Assad does not commit such atrocities again.
He said: “It is also clear that this horrific conflict, now in its seventh year, demands a genuine ceasefire and the supporters of the armed combatants in the region need to ensure compliance.”
He continued: “We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again. As the self-proclaimed guarantors to the ceasefire negotiated in Astana, Russia and Iran also bear great moral responsibility for these deaths.”
Despite knowing that the dictator has launched similar attacks on his own people in the past, Russia and Iran have stood by him. The Russian Government has even argued that if Assad was removed from power, the region would be further destabilised.
Arguably, Iran is defending Assad because their Regime is so heavily entrenched in the Syrian Civil War and they worry that if his dictatorship fell, there’s would be next.
The White House also condemned the attack on civilians in opposition-held parts of Syria, with Donald Trump calling it “reprehensible” and stating that the civilised world cannot ignore this heinous act.
Trump blamed Assad’s actions on the weakness of the Obama administration.
He said: “President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.”
However, Trump has not yet stated how his administration plans to deal with the attack, aside from condemning it.
This brutal attack on the Idlib Province is considered the worst chemical weapons attack in Syria for years. It killed dozens of people, including children, and left many more injured.