Israel charged on Tuesday that the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad has been using chemical weapons against opposition forces during the current ceasefire agreement, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“The Syrians used military-grade chemical weapons and lately have been using materials, chlorine, against civilians, including in these very days, after the supposed ceasefire, dropping barrels of chlorine on civilians,” Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a speech to a military technology conference in Airport City, near Tel Aviv. Yaalon did not elaborate further.
The Syrian opposition has been alleging ceasefire violations by Assad’s forces since the truce, sponsored by Russia and the United States, officially began over the weekend. Assad has denied the accusations.
Despite the ostensible surrender of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile in a deal brokered by the Russians with U.S. acquiescence, the use of such weapons has continued. A fact-finding mission of the chemical weapons watchdog (OPCW) found in 2014 that the use of chlorine gas has been “systematic” in the Syrian civil war, even after the country surrendered its stockpile of toxic weapons.
Both sides have denied using chlorine “barrel” bombs, which the OPCW said are dropped out of helicopters. The Syrian air force is the only party in the conflict known to have helicopters.