The UN has identified 34 incidents of illicit chemical weapons use since 2013
The pictures surfacing from the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma on April 8 were not unfamiliar. Men, women and children laid convulsing on the floor, white foam projecting from their mouths. The world has seen these images again and again.
Dozens died, and many more survivors were affected, their eyes burning and their throats stifled by the chemicals, according to human rights and rebel groups. The incident drew the ire of Western governments, while Damascus and its backers in Moscow and Tehran said rebels had staged the attack.
An international coalition has not only expressed outrage, pointing the finger at the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, but took the step on Saturday of launching strikes against the government sites suspected of chemical weapons production.
It was a sharp departure from Mr Trump’s comments a week earlier when he signalled that he was seeking to end American involvement in the country.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) held a special closed session on Monday to discuss the latest attack, its probe into the incident and the escalating international response.
Douma was the latest chemical barrage in a five-year outlay of incidents across Syria, some of them resulting in the deadliest incidents of the protracted conflict that in March entered its eighth year. These cases represent the basis for the majority of the international community to classify the Syrian state as a pariah.
As the fallout from the American, French and British strikes continues, here is a list of the 34 chemical attacks — the majority the result of chlorine use — confirmed to have taken place inside Syria since 2013 and before the latest atrocity in Douma, according to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. It holds the Al Assad regime responsible for many of them. The independent body, set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council, is currently probing the Douma attack.