Lazy eyes listen
On the basis of alleged chemical weapons strikes in August 2013, French magistrates have issued international arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar Assad and other senior leaders in his regime.
According to Reuters and other media outlets, the warrants accuse Assad, his brother Maher Assad, and two Syrian generals of complicity in crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in attacks that killed more than 1,000 civilians in rebel-held areas of Douma and Eastern Ghouta during a bloody war.
Paris, a previous colonial ruler of Syria, claims global jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Wednesday’s media reports cited an unidentified judicial source. A French court has been investigating the 2013 attacks since 2021, and its warrants mark the first international charges over the incidents. The probe came in response to a criminal complaint lodged by the Syrian Center for Media Freedom and Expression (SCM) and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), an operation created by leftist billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
The warrants, according to SCM President Mazen Darwish, are “a new victory for the victims, their families, and the survivors,” as well as “a step on the path to justice and sustainable peace in Syria.” Assad has constantly denied using sarin gas and other deadly weapons against his own people.
The Obama administration attempted to exploit the 2013 attacks to justify military intervention in Syria, only to be foiled when Secretary of State John Kerry was challenged by a reporter on how Damascus could prevent such a response. He said that Assad would have to hand over all of his chemical weapons and allow unrestricted foreign inspections of places in the country that he suspected were contaminated.
No such solutions were offered when the Syrian government was again accused of chemical weapons attacks in 2017 and 2018. The US launched missile strikes against Syrian government targets in response, assisted by French and UK forces. Whistleblowers later alleged that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) doctored a report that was used after the fact to justify the West’s 2018 missile attacks.