Without entering into the issue of whether the Syrian Government used chemical weapons, this is another political ploy of the West to use justice as a political weapon. What needs to be commented on here is whether the judiciary in France would issue a similar warrant of arrest against an American president. I doubt it. Therefore, this would be read as a form of modern colonialism.
France has issued an international arrest warrant for Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, over the use of banned chemical attacks against civilians.
It is the first international arrest warrant that has been issued for the Syrian head of state, whose forces responded to protests that began in 2011 with a brutal crackdown that amounts to war crimes, according to UN experts.
International warrants were also issued for the arrests of Assad’s brother Maher, the de-facto chief of a Syrian elite military unit, and two armed forces generals.
Judicial sources said Assad faced charges of complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes for the attacks, blamed by the opposition on the regime, that killed more than 1,400 people in the town of Douma and the district of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013.
The Paris court’s crimes against humanity unit has been investigating the chemical attacks since 2021.
France claims worldwide jurisdiction for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The probe followed a legal complaint filed by the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) NGO, lawyers’ association Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the Syrian Archive, a body documenting human rights violations in Syria.
This is the first time international arrest warrants have been issued over the chemical weapons attack, said Mazen Darwish, lawyer and SCM founder.
“It’s a huge development. An independent jurisdiction is recognising that the chemical attack couldn’t have happened without the knowledge of the Syrian president, that he has responsibility and should be held accountable,” he said.
The Syrian government has denied ever using chemical weapons, which have also sparked legal complaints in Germany and other European countries.
The Syrian presidency and information ministry did not immediately reply for comment.
The case against Assad and the others was backed by first-hand witness accounts and painstaking analysis of the Syrian military chain of command, Mr Darwish said.
Activists in 2013 posted amateur videos on YouTube said to show the effects of the attack, including footage of dozens of corpses, many of them children, stretched out on the ground.
Other images showed unconscious children, people foaming at the mouth and doctors apparently giving them oxygen to help them breathe.
Syria joined OPCW
A UN report later said there was clear evidence of sarin gas use.
Syria agreed in 2013 to join the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) global watchdog and give up all chemical weapons.
The OPCW has since blamed Damascus for a series of chemical attacks during the civil war.
Syria’s civil war broke out in 2011 after Assad’s repression of peaceful demonstrations escalated into a brutal conflict involving foreign powers and global jihadists.
The war has killed more than half a million people and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population.