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A high number of civilians were killed on Saturday in the besieged Syrian city of Douma, with evidence pointing towards yet another chemical attack by the regime. Families hiding in shelters were among the civilians who perished. The European Union will remain mobilised to make sure that those responsible are held accountable and to fight against the use of chemical weapons.
In a statement issued Sunday, the EU condemned in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons and called for an immediate response by the international community.
The EU has in place restrictive measures on high level officials and scientists responsible for the development and the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In the aftermath of chemical attacks including a massive poisoning in Khan Sheikhoun that killed at least 74 people and injured more than 557, additional restrictive measures were imposed in July 2017 and again more recently in March 2018.
The EU has sought to ensure a strong and united international response to the illegal use of chemical weapons in Syria, to ensure accountability.
"It is highly regrettable that Russia vetoed the renewal of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism in November 2017", Sunday's statement read. The EU has called upon the UN Security Council to rapidly re-establish mechanisms to identify perpetrators of the chemical attacks.
The EU calls on 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.