By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - Syria may be producing new kinds of chemical weapons munitions to escape detection and international accountability, the State Department said Friday.
"According to open sources, these new weapons use delivery mechanisms previously unused in chemical weapons attacks in Syria," the agency said in a statement, adding that ground-launched rockets and grenades are included in attacks.
Highlighting the previous use of barrel bombs to deploy chlorine by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the statement said an alleged chemical attack Thursday in Eastern Ghouta would be the third instance in the last 30 days, if confirmed.
"We also continue to be concerned that the Syrian regime maintains chemical stockpiles for use in these weapons and refuses to disclose these stockpiles or its chemical weapons program in violation of the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] and its international obligations,” it added.
Eastern Ghouta has been under siege for five years and the Assad regime has intensified its onslaught of the city in the past eight months. Humanitarian access has been completely cut off to its 400,000 civilians, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.