India calls for impartial probe on Syria 'chemical attack'

ANI | Updated: Apr 17, 2018 18:05 IST

The Hague [The Netherlands], Apr. 17 (ANI): India on Monday called for an impartial and objective investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's Douma two weeks ago.

The above statement was made by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to OPCW Venu Rajamony at the 58th meeting of the executive council of the OPCW, that was convened to discuss allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons in Douma.

Ambassador Rajamony pointed out that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, cannot be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable.

He said any use of chemical weapons is in complete disregard of humanity and is reprehensible and contrary to the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as accepted international norms.

Ambassador Rajamony commended the OPCW for its prompt deployment of the fact-finding mission to Douma and expressed appreciation to the Director-General and OPCW staff for their commitment to the aims and work of the organisation often in challenging circumstances.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday said India was closely following the situation in Syria.

"We have taken note of the recent strikes in Syria. India is closely following the situation. The alleged use of chemical weapons, if true, is deplorable. We call for an impartial and objective investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to establish the facts. In the meantime, we urge all Parties to show restraint and to avoid any further escalation in the situation. The matter should be resolved through dialogue, negotiations, and on the basis of the principles of the United Nations' Charter and in accordance with the international law. We hope that the long drawn suffering of the people of Syria would come to an end soon," the MEA statement read.

On April 7, an unconfirmed chemical strike was carried out in Syria's Douma, a rebel-controlled town in Eastern Ghouta, claiming the lives of over 70 civilians, including children.

The White Helmets, a voluntary aide group, pinned the blame for the assault, which claimed more than 70 civilian lives, on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

However, the regime has rejected the claim, calling it a "fabrication" by Jaish al-Islam, the Islamist group controlling the area. Russia, which has backed Assad throughout the seven-year-long civil war, rejected the claim too.

United States President Donald Trump was left infuriated by the attacks, who had pledged serious action against the parties responsible. On April 14, airstrikes were launched by a coalition including the US, the United Kingdom and France, on targets in Syria's capital Damascus. (ANI)