Fourth Anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Attack at Ghouta, Syria

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 21, 2017

Four years ago today, the Syrian regime launched a horrific chemical attack with the nerve agent sarin on the opposition-controlled suburb of Ghouta in Damascus – leaving more than 1,400 Syrians dead, many of them children. On this solemn anniversary, the international community remembers the many lives lost and the need to continue to stand against such cruel disregard the international standards and norms against the use of chemicals as weapons.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances. We reiterate our commitment not to tolerate such use and to ensure that those responsible face serious consequences. Since the horrific attack four years ago, the Syrian regime has continued to demonstrate blatant disregard for international law and norms, as demonstrated in its chemical attack using sarin gas on Khan Shaykun on April 4, 2017. As a result, the United States responded with targeted airstrikes on a regime airbase. We are prepared to continue to use the necessary means to deter the regime from using such chemical weapons.

The Assad regime must cease its use of chemical weapons, fully declare all of its chemical weapons stockpiles, and cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission and the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). Failure to comply with international law, norms, and standards related to the use of chemical weapons poses a direct threat to the international community and will be addressed accordingly.