WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, condemned the Assad regime’s attack, yesterday, on a school in the city of Aleppo that killed as many as 47 people, mainly children. The students were preparing an art exhibition to depict the horrors of Syria’s civil war when the Syrian jet struck. UNICEF has reported that Syria is among the most dangerous places on Earth to be a child, pointing to high child casualty rates, brutalizing and traumatic violence, deteriorated access to education, and health concerns. The conflict has resulted in the death of over 140,000 people in Syria, including at least 10,000 children.
“Assad’s killing machine continues to brutalize the Syrian people, indiscriminately bombing schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods,” said Senator Cardin. “Equally disturbing are reports that his forces have begun using chlorine in barrel bombs dropped from aircraft in residential areas. If these reports are accurate, these actions constitute a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention which Syria has signed.
“Last month, I introduced the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2014, which requires the U.S. State Department to report on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria, by both the Assad regime and violent extremist groups and other combatants involved in the conflict. The perpetrators of these crimes must know that they will be held accountable for their actions. Shedding light on the atrocities in Syria is critical to bringing human rights abusers to justice.”
In addition, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that Damascus missed the April 27 deadline to turn over the remaining 8 percent of its chemical arsenal and has not destroyed the network of tunnels and buildings that were used to store the weapons as it agreed to do when it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention.
“Syria must honor its commitments and immediately relinquish all of its chemical weapons and destroy its weapons facilities,” Cardin added. “Assad has already used these instruments of death on his own people. We do not want to see history repeated.”