Security and Defence


Chemical weapons in Syria

11 Jul 2018 - 14:26
Source: Steve Rhodes/flickr
Chemical weapons in Syria: Do retaliatory bombardments deter their usage?

In-depth data analysis on alleged chemical weapon incidents in Syria shows that there is a surprising link between retaliatory bombardments and the use of chemical weapons. While diplomatic initiatives via the United Nations were often paralysed by vetoes, retaliatory bombardments have proven to be one of the tools to (temporarily) stop the use of chemical weapons.

This Brief by Kars de Bruijne and Sico van der Meer suggests a solid command and control structure over the use of chemical weapons in Syria and implies that a credible threat to retaliate against the usage of chemical weapons in Syria can be effective in upholding the global norm against these weapons. Strengthening independent investigations in order to identify the perpetrators is required for international support to such retaliatory bombardments.