William Hague says reports that chemical weapons have once again been used against the people of Syria are “utterly sickening”.
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The British foreign secretary called on a mission by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, (OPCW) to urgently learn the facts around claims, made by rebels and activists, of chlorine gas use.
Reports suggesting that chemical weapons have again been used, heaping further misery on the people of Syria, are utterly sickening. William Hague
It was announced on Tuesday that the OPCW would be sending a new mission to Syria, following a chemical weapons attack in August last year which triggered a deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons.
Mr Hague said on Wednesday: “The UK pushed hard to secure an investigation and we call on the OPCW to carry out its mandate with urgency.
“Reports suggesting that chemical weapons have again been used, heaping further misery on the people of Syria, are utterly sickening.
“Time is of the essence in establishing the full facts. The mission must be given full access to all sites and be allowed to carry out its investigation without any interference or delay.
“The UK will give strong support to the OPCW, including offering any assistance that the mission needs in order to bring to the world the full truth about these horrific allegations.
“The international community must be ready to hold anyone found to have used chemical weapons fully accountable for their crimes.”
Rebels and activists have alleged at least three chlorine gas attacks in the last month. The chemical weapons attack last August killed hundreds of Syrians, and was met with global condemnation.
A deal was struck with the Syrian government to force it to hand over all of its chemical weapons – and Damascus is reported to have now destroyed or shipped out 92 per cent of its chemical weapons.
However chlorine, which has many industrial uses, was not included in the list of chemicals Syria needed to remove.