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French-led effort a vital step toward ending chemical weapons use

four child victims of reported gas attack
Syrian children being treated in a make-shift hospital following a reported gas attack on the rebel-held, besieged town of Douma on January 22, 2018. Photo: Hasan Mohamed / AFP/ Getty Images

Today a group of 30 countries, led by France and including the U.S., launched the International Partnership Against Impunity for Use of Chemical Weapons to hold perpetrators accountable. The announcement follows reports yesterday of a new chemical attack by the Assad regime in the Syrian town of Douma, yet was met with stunningly little fanfare from the media and civil society groups.

Since the complete collapse of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the need for new approaches has grown acute. Essential as it is, this partnership is only a first step.