Chemical weapons deployed in Syria

syriaSouth Africa has condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in the civil war in Syria earlier this week.

“The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria is of serious concern and would introduce an extremely dangerous element into the conflict, which is wholly unacceptable by any standard,” International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said in a statement.

It was reported earlier this week that a missile containing a chemical substance was fired into a village in Allepo province, killing 31 people and injuring 100.

Ebrahim said South Africa was “gravely concerned” about the serious escalation of the conflict in Syria.

“We have consistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence as well as protect the rights of the Syrian population.”

Weapons of mass destruction were particularly heinous because they targeted innocent civilians. All the parties to the current conflict had a responsibility to protect and preserve human rights.

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South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. There is no military solution to the conflict.

The only way to stop the further destruction of Syrian society is for the parties to come together in dialogue without delay,” Ebrahim said.

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He said any political transition needed to reflect the will of the Syrian people, adding that South Africa rejected any calls for forced regime change and outside military interference or any action not in line with the Charter of the United Nations.

“South Africa calls for restraint on the part of all parties to the conflict and again emphasises the need for an immediate political settlement as expressed by the Geneva Joint Communiqué.” – SAnews.gov.za