- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces carried out at least two chemical attacks in Syria in the past two years and the Islamic State also used mustard gas as a weapon, the United Nations reported Wednesday.

Despite the Obama administration’s claim that it forced a deal in 2013 to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, the U.N. report said Assad perpetrated at least two chemical attacks, in April 2014 and March 2015. It was unable to reach conclusions on six other reported cases.

Investigators found that Syrian air force helicopters dropped “a device” on houses that was followed by the “release of a toxic substance,” which in one case was believed to be chlorine gas.

The panel also found that the Islamic State “was the only entity with the ability, capability, motive and the means” to use sulphur mustard gas in an attack on the town of Marea in northern Syria on Aug. 21, 2015.

The White House said the report shows “it is now impossible to deny that the Syrian regime has repeatedly used industrial chlorine as a weapon against its own people in violation” of a U.N. resolution.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Assad regime’s use of chlorine against its own people,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price. “In 2013, the Syrian regime agreed to the removal and destruction of its chemical weapons and also joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

He said the U.S. “will work with our international partners to seek accountability through appropriate diplomatic mechanisms.”

With regard to the Islamic State’s use of chemical weapons, Mr. Price said the U.S.-led coalition continues “to remove leaders from the battlefield with knowledge of these weapons, and will target any related materials and attempts to manufacture such chemicals going forward.”

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