Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused the Syrian government of using chemicals weapons against civilians, including during the current cease-fire.
“The Syrians used military grade chemical weapons and lately have been using materials, chlorine, against civilians, including in these very days, after the supposed cease-fire, dropping barrels of chlorine on civilians,” Ya’alon said during a speech at a conference near Tel Aviv.
Despite agreeing in 2013 to dismantle and hand over its chemical weapons stockpile, reports have indicated that the Syrian government has repeatedly used chlorine barrel bombs against its opponents. While chlorine use is banned by the International Chemical Weapons Convention treaty, it was exempt from the 2013 agreement because of its industrial uses, such as for water purification.
In an attempt to end the five-year-old Syrian civil war, the United States and Russia brokered a cease-fire that took effect on Feb. 27. But opposition groups have accused the Syrian government of violating the cease-fire, an allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied.