Red Lines and Chlorine Weapon Use in Syria

Published in 2018

Professor Lesley Wexler Writes on Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria

During World War I, use of chlorine gas a weapon violated prohibitions of the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions on use of poison weapons. Use of chlorine gas as a weapon is banned by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Syria acceded to the CWC in 2013 but has since been accused of chlorine gas attacks. Has prospect of attacks on their homelands by much smaller smuggled amounts of potent nerve gas agents like sarin led some of the permanent members of the UN Security council to question whether a “red line” against poison gas attacks by Syria also applies to chlorine gas?  In a 20 February 2018 commentary, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign law professor Lesley Wexler asks how seriously the use of chlorine gas as a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention is being taken.