Thousands of people, including children were killed in the toxic gas attack on 21 August 2013 on the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the capital of Syria. Rocket barrages and intense artillery took place on 21 August 2013 and killed at least 100 people.
The death tool, which is rising continuously, made it the deadliest alleged chemical attack in the civil war of Syria. The death toll ranged from 100 to 1300.
The shelling started off in the eastern suburbs of Zamalka, Arbeen and Ein Tarma. The bombardment as well as sounds of fighter jets was observed on 21 August 2013. Toxic gas was fired from the rockets.
The White House declared that the Obama administration was working in order to gather the information about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against the civilians. The US, in the meanwhile, also demanded UN to investigate the matter and start off the Security Council debate.
The use of chemical weapons in Syria
Syria in March 2013 asked UN to investigate the use of chemical weapons by the rebels in the village of al-Assal. Whereas, United Nations declared that it wanted to investigate all the reports related to the use of chemical weapons in Syria not only the one that the government claimed to be used by the rebels.
What is Chemical Warfare?
Chemical warfare (CW) means use of the toxic properties of chemical substances like the weapons. The CW is very much different from the biological warfare and nuclear warfare, all of which together make up NBC, the military acronym for nuclear, biological, and chemical (warfare or weapons). All these are considered as WMD or the Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In the CW, the chemical agent is weaponised. A fatal agent is designed for injuring or incapacitating enemy.
Chemical Weapons Treaty
The International treaty prohibits the use of biological and chemical weapons in the warfare. The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and the Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, or the Geneva Convention is this International Treaty.
This was signed into an International Law at Geneva on 17 June 1925. This came into force on 8 February 1928. The treaty states that the biological and chemical weapons are justly condemned by the general opinion of the civilised world.
Chemical Weapons Convention
Production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons is prohibited under the arms control agreement in International Law called the Convention of the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.
This is administered by Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is an intergovernmental organisation based in The Hague.