The European Union will remain mobilised to fight against the use of chemical weapons and to make sure that those responsible are held accountable. So said a statement issued by the EU’s spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Th statement was in response to reports that a large number of civilians were killed on April 7 in a chemical attack by the regime in Douma, Syria, under the siege and bombardment by regime forces and its allies.

According to the spokesperson’s statement, almost a year to the day of the horrific attacks in Khan Sheikhoun, it is a matter of grave concern that chemical weapons continue to be used, especially on civilians. “The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons and calls for an immediate response by the international community.”

In July 2017, as well as last month, the EU imposed additional restrictive measures on high level officials and scientists responsible for the development and the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“It is highly regrettable that Russia vetoed the renewal of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism in November 2017 and the EU calls upon the UN Security Council to rapidly re-establish this mechanism to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks. Accountability is crucial,” read the statement.

The EU is calling on the supporters of the regime, Russia and Iran, to use their influence to prevent any further attack and ensure the cessation of hostilities and de-escalation of violence as per UNSC Resolution 2401. “The protection of civilians must remain an absolute priority.”