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The New Arab Staff

Protesters commemorate anniversary of Syrian regime Douma chemical massacre

It is believed the Syrian regime still holds chemical weapons [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2021

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Protesters in Idlib gathered to remember the victims of the 2018 chemical weapons attack on Douma that killed 39, and to demand accountability.

Wednesday marked the third anniversary of the devastating Syrian regime chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, which left 39 civilians dead including many women and children. 

Protesters gathered in the centre of Idlib, northwestern Syria, to remember the victims and call for the Syrian regime to be held accountable for the attack. 

The city of Douma, in the Damascus countryside, was attacked with chemical weapons on the morning of 7 April 2018, as part of the Syrian regime's offensive to retake the rebel held area

At an event in the centre of Idlib, protesters held signs expressing solidarity and reiterating calls for the international community to hold the Assad regime accountable for their crimes. 

"Today, on the third anniversary of the chemical massacre in the city of Douma, we came to remind the world, the international community, the peoples of the world and human rights organisations about the crime of Bashar Al-Assad's regime and the forces supporting it," Mohammed Al-Saleh told The New Arab’s sister publications Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

"Our demand is still one, which is to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for chemical weapons. We call on the international community to translate the European Union's statements about the chemical attack on Douma with actions on the ground," added Ibrahim Al-Zeer.

The protesters' calls were mirrored in a statement by the Syrian National Coalition released on Twitter.

"The Assad regime's involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity and the use of chemical weapons has been well documented and proven beyond any doubt. The international community and international actors much therefore punish the criminals through military intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter," they said. 

A report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights recorded that the 2018 Douma chemical attack killed 39 civilians, including 10 children and 15 women. Additionally, more than 550 other suffered injuries related to the attack.

Read more: In the shadows of Syria's revolution, a generation of activists is born

Following the attack in Douma, the rebels surrendered the area to the regime and successive resolutions presented to the UN Security Council regarding a response to the attack were vetoed by competing countries. 

On 14 April, seven days after the attack, the US, UK, and France launch airstrikes on Syria, that targeted regime sites. At the time, it was claimed that the strikes ended Syria's ability to create chemical weapons, although subsequent evaluations have determined that Syria retains the capability. 

Since the 2018 attack in Douma, the Syrian regime, aided by Russia and Iran, continued to recapture a number of areas in Syria, displacing countless people and killing thousands of civilians. 

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