France calls for UN Security Council meeting over Syria

By Sorwar Alam

ANKARA (AA) – France on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the latest chemical attack by the Syrian regime in Eastern Ghouta.

In a statement French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned “the continuation by the Syrian regime of the siege of the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, and the bombings that have claimed a large number of civilian casualties in the last 24 hours “.

At least 70 civilians were killed late Saturday after Bashar al-Assad regime forces struck targets in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma district in an attack, in which poison gas appears to have been used, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.

Le Drian expressed “extreme concern” and “indignation” over the chemical attack which he called a “flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law “.

France is actively working with its allies to verify the reality and nature of the strikes, he said, adding that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime and a violation of the international non-proliferation regime.

He reiterated that France would assume all its responsibilities in the fight against chemical proliferation.

The statement did not provide any information on when the meeting might take place.

On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 which called for a month-long cease-fire in Syria – especially in Eastern Ghouta — to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Despite the resolution, the regime and its allies in March launched a major ground offensive backed by Russian air power aimed at capturing opposition-held parts of Eastern Ghouta.

Home to some 400,000 people, the suburb has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years.

Earlier this month, a UN commission of inquiry released a report accusing the regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians.