The 7th of April marks the fifth anniversary of the chemical attack carried out by Assad’s forces on the city of Douma, located in the countryside of Damascus. On the 7th of April of the year 2018, Assad’s forces bombed the town of Douma during forced evacuation operations from Eastern Ghouta after a comprehensive siege by Assad’s forces and its allies that lasted for five years.
The massacre’s victims reached 78 civilians, with hundreds of injuries, primarily children, who were exposed to toxic gases; They forcibly continued their journey of displacement to the north of Syria as soon as they received the treatment available at the time. Five days after the attack, Russia announced that the Assad regime had imposed complete control over Eastern Ghouta.
The First massacre of Assad with chemical weapons occurred on August 21, 2013, when he targeted Eastern Ghouta with chemical weapons. More than 1400 civilians, including women and children, were killed then.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed in its reports that the Assad regime used chemical weapons in Douma; however, to this day, there is no accountability or justice for the victims, especially when the Assad regime is being protected by its Russian allies in particular, and behind them, China, as Russia and China used the veto in favour of Assad 16 times during the meetings of the UN Security Council, including six times in sessions dedicated to discussing chemical weapons attacks.
In its third report on Friday, January 27, 2023, the OPCW confirmed that its investigators had concluded “reasonable justifications”, indicating that the Syrian regime was behind the chlorine attack targeted Douma.
The organisation said the helicopter took off from Dumayr Air Base and was operating under the control of the Tiger Forces, and dropped two yellow canisters on April 7, 2018. According to the organisation, the two canisters targeted two residential buildings in the centre of Douma. The report stated that the first cylinder disintegrated and quickly released a toxic gas, chlorine, with very high concentrations, which spread quickly inside the building, killing 43 people and injuring dozens. Meanwhile, the second cylinder crashed into a flat and slowly released some chlorine, slightly affecting those arriving first at the scene.
“The use of chemical weapons in Douma, and anywhere else, is unacceptable and a violation of international law. Now that the world knows the facts, the international community must act.”
Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Fernando Arias, in a statement
In a previous report published by FSLA, we discussed the report issued by OPCW and its justifications for holding the Assad regime responsible for the chemical weapons attack on Douma.
The first massacre committed by Assad using chemical weapons, and the most horrific in terms of the number of victims, was on August 21, 2013, when he targeted Eastern Ghouta with chemical weapons, leaving more than 1,400 victims, mostly women and children.
Although the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced in a statement on December 5, 2016, the destruction of the entire stockpile of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons, the Assad regime, without deterrence, continued its use of chemical weapons in several subsequent massacres in Khan Sheikhoun, Douma, and other areas.
The Free Syrian Lawyers Association continues its mission of documenting all the violations committed on Syrian soil and working with its partners to prepare all legal files. In addition, the FSLA continues its endeavour so that the Syrians can see justice achieved by prosecuting the perpetrators and redressing the victims.