After the chemical attack on Al Ghouta on 21 August 2013, Russia assured that the Syrian regime will hand over its chemical weapons and will cease its use to it. According to those statements, the US pulled back its efforts from disciplining the regime since it crossed the “red line” that were drawn by President Obama. On 27 September 2013, UNSC issued a resolution that stated that “in case of not abiding to the provisions of resolution 2118, measures will be imposed under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.” However, all our evidence indicate that the Syrian regime have violated UNSC resolutions 2118, 2209 and 2235. Russia did not commit to its assurance before the United States in deterring the Syrian regime from using toxic gases. On the other hand, the US was impotent from performing any action. Therefore, we cannot trust a Russian “guarantee or assurance” to any political solution of a cease-fire in Syria if it had failed miserably in managing the use of toxic gases.
Through its daily documentation since 2011, SNHR documented the use of chemical gases and issued 23 previous reports about the use of toxic gases before UNSC resolution 2118 was issued and after. All of that toxic gas attacks were perpetrated by the Syrian regime. ISIL started to use toxic gases on 21 August 2015 for the first time when it attacked Maree’ City in Aleppo. After ISIL was established on 9 April 2013, we noticed that the Syrian regime’s use of toxic gases was focused on regions that were under the control of armed opposition as 97% of the attacks were concentrated on armed opposition regions while 3% of the attacks were perpetrated on ISIL controlled regions.
Since we were not able to visit and collect samples from regions shelled with toxic gases, we relied on survivors and eyewitnesses testimonies, Civil Defence members and doctors who treated the injured people. Also, we examined videos and images sent to use by our local activists. We also explained the aim behind conducting these interviews and received the eyewitnesses’ approval for the information they provided us with. Also, we analyzed all the videos and images we received to check its credibility and kept different copies of it. SNHR assures that these records are the bare minimum of what we were able to document regarding the obstacles and challenges we face in our investigation and gathering information process, and communicating with eyewitnesses.