Dozens of civilians in the Douma district were killed by Syrian government chemical attacks on Saturday. There is more than enough blame to go round
Syria’s renewed use of chemical weapons against its own people at the weekend is shameless and barbaric. Dozens of people in the remaining rebel-held suburbs of Damascus were suffocated by Saturday’s chemical attack on the Douma district. This is not the first time this has happened. Since the use of sarin at Khan al-Assal in 2013 there have been dozens of chemical attacks by the regime. These deliberate attacks on civilians show callous contempt for humanity and disregard for the laws of war. Official Syrian claims that the latest killings have been fabricated are beneath contempt.
Yet Bashar al-Assad has again used chemical weapons for two reasons that shame others, as well as him. First, he has done it because he has the means and the will. Second, he has done it because he knows he can get away with it. His crimes are his own. But they have been made possible, among other things, by the failure of any effective legal, diplomatic and military sanctions.