US designates three Syrian officials over use of ‘chemical weapons against civilians’

Three Syrian generals and their families no longer allowed to enter US

FILE PHOTO: A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria August 29, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah/File Photo
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The US State Department has designated three high-ranking Syrian military officials over their alleged involvement in gas attacks in Ghouta in 2013.

In August of that year, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad launched a series of chemical attacks on the densely populated Damascus suburb, killing at least 1,400 people, the State Department said.

“The United States remembers and honours the victims and survivors of the Ghouta massacre and the victims of the many other chemical attacks that we assess the Assad regime has launched,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The State Department has banned Brig Gen Adnan Abou Hilweh, Maj Gen Ghassan Ahmed Ghannam and Maj Gen Jawdat Saleebi Mawas and their families from entering the US.

The US alleges that the three military officials were involved in the air strikes on Ghouta as well as in “gross violations of human rights, namely the flagrant denial of the right to life of at least 1,400 people in Ghouta”.

FILE - This file  image released early Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through a respirator following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been thrust once again into the international limelight by a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain and allegations of a chemical bombardment on the Syrian city of Douma. It is now attempting to investigate, but its experts have not yet been able to visit the scene. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP, File)

A UN team looking into the August 2013 attack found “clear and convincing evidence” that sarin gas, a highly toxic chemical, was used against civilians.

The Syrian civil war has stretched on for more than a decade. Roughly 13 million Syrians have been displaced and about six million have fled the country.

The UN estimates that more than 306,000 people have been killed during the ongoing conflict.

Updated: October 24, 2022, 8:47 PM