Syria’s Chemical Weapons and the International Community


This Syrian rebel soldier prepares gas masks, following a chemical weapons attack.

On August 21, 2013, a devastating chemical weapons attack occurred in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria. Around 1,400 people were killed, most of them civilians, including more than 400 children. For many months the international community had warned both sides in the Syrian civil war that any use of chemical weapons would have severe consequences. Most nations of the world have agreed by treaty to ban the use of chemical weapons such as Sarin gas in war. Historically, international efforts to ban the use of chemical weapons intensified after World War I.

Based on intelligence sources and a United Nations inspectors’ report, the United States, Britain, and France issued statements blaming the regime of Bashar al-Assad of carrying out the attack. US president Barack Obama prepared to respond to this use of chemical weapons by launching airstrikes against Syrian targets. US military action was then set aside after the United States and Russia agreed to seek UN backing to require Syria to turn over all of its stockpiles of chemical weapons for destruction.

On September 27 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon blasted Syria’s leader for “crimes against humanity” while announcing that the Security Council had voted to seize Syria’s chemical weapons. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will carry out the council’s resolution in Syria. This organization oversees implementation of the international treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been signed by 189 nation-states. The OPCW’s inspection teams entered Syria before October 1 to begin the process of locating and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. The OPCW’s work will be difficult because the civil war is ongoing.

Image credit: © Marcin Suder/Corbis

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  1. Sangwook says:

    It must be very exciting! Are you plinanng on homeschooling Aiden? It seems to early to consider this, though. In the meantime, just enjoy your time with him! Now that my eldest is 21 and my youngest 16, I miss the days when they were babies. Of course, having grown-up children has a plus side to it. They help with the housework and carrying the heavy suitcases when we travel.

  2. emma says:

    what is name of the author of this article?

  3. david says:

    why are they haveing this debate cause is the president says something then thats what goes.

  4. ????????????? says:

    we should stop them

  5. The mysterious Pewdie says:

    That’s a funny picture up top, kind of ironic I guess….

  6. Fat John says:

    I agree with ?????????????

  7. Bridget Rose says:

    This world is to broken to repair,I give up.

  8. batman says:


  9. jos mama says:


  10. mike says:

    that’s my daddy