Alistair Burt, Minister for the Middle East, said:
The UK is deeply concerned by the three reports of chlorine attacks by Syrian regime forces in Eastern Ghouta so far in 2018. If it is confirmed that the regime has used chlorine, it would be yet another appalling example of the Asad regime’s blatant disregard for both the Syrian people and its legal obligation not to use chemical weapons.
Russia’s repeated vetoes - which ended the UN Security Council mandated Joint Investigative Mechanism – risk sending a dangerous signal to the Syrian regime that it can use chemical weapons with impunity.
The unrelenting airstrikes and violence by the regime and its backers in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib continue to claim indiscriminately civilian lives on a daily basis and are worsening the already dire humanitarian situation.
The Asad regime must allow immediate, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. We call on Russia and the regime’s backers to exert their influence to ensure this.
At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday (5 February) the UK will again call on Russia and the international community to unite to hold the Asad regime to account for using these abhorrent weapons, to seek justice for the victims and to prevent further attacks.