Security Challenges
Volume 10, No.1 (2014)

Poison Gas and Diplomacy in Syria

Two years ago in February 2012 Russia and China vetoed a second United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at holding Damascus accountable for crimes against humanity in Syria. After the vote, confident that there would be no accountability, President Bashar al-Assad‟s forces deployed more extreme forms of violence. For example, although protests against the Syrian regime began in March 2011, Assad‟s forces did not widely utilise helicopters to attack their opponents until after the second veto. Just five days after a third UN Security Council veto on 19 July, fixed wing aircraft were reportedly used for the first time. The killing rate in Syria increased from approximately 1,000 per month at the end of 2011 to approximately 5,000 per month during the second half of 2012 as the civil war metastasised. Between February and November of 2012 the death toll soared from 5,400 to 59,600.1

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