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Syria: Armed Conflict

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 259185, tabled on 3 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to investigations suggesting that reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government in Douma in April 2018 were staged and with reference to reports that OPCW expert advice was redacted from its final report, whether he has made a reassessment of the decision to bomb targets in Syria in 2018.

Answered on

10 June 2019

‚ÄčThe UK has full confidence in the expertise and methodologies of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM). We welcome the clearly-evidenced FFM report on Douma that found "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine." We have confidence in this conclusion. The OPCW Technical Secretariat has confirmed that all evidence and views were considered in preparing the FFM report.

A significant amount of information indicates that the Syrian Regime was responsible for this attack, a regime with a history of using such weapons against its people. No other group could have carried out this attack. The UK considers that the military action in April last year was legal. The UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering. The action taken was to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people which has been exacerbated by the use of chemical weapons.