U.S. sanctions Syrian officials for chemical weapons attacks
The United States on Thursday blacklisted 18 senior Syrian officials it said were connected to the country's weapons of mass destruction program, after an international investigation found Syrian government forces were responsible for chlorine gas attacks against civilians, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The action marked the first time the United States has sanctioned Syrian military officials for the government's use of chemical weapons, according to a Treasury Department statement.
A joint inquiry by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic State militants had used mustard gas, according to reports seen by Reuters in August and October.
Chlorine's use as a weapon is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria joined in 2013. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns into hydrochloric acid in the lungs and can kill by burning lungs and drowning victims in the resulting body fluids.