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Case 5 “On Civilian Harm: Chemical weapons

The Syrian government executed a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017. About 50 people died immediately, and more in the hours and days following. Among the victims were adults, the elderly and children; all of them civilians. The chapter "Chemical weapons: A Sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun (Syria, 2017)" discusses the evidence that led to the conclusion that the Syrian government was behind the Sarin attack, the reaction of the international community, and addresses important questions regarding the possibility of chemical attacks occurring despite being prohibited.

In ‘On Civilian Harm’, we explore the ways in which civilians are negatively affected by violent conflict, offer tools and language to discuss the phenomenon, make practical recommendations for civilian harm mitigation and raise questions for further debate. The book contains in-depth analysises of 13 particular events in which harm to civilians occurred as a consequence of use of armed violence. Taken together, they contribute to an increased understanding of the variety and complexity of civilian harm at a conceptual level, bringing out common traits and patterns on civilian harm in violent conflict.

About this report

Date of publication:

Jun 10, 2021


Wilbert van der Zeijden (PAX)


PAX Protection of Civilians

More about the book 'On Civilian Harm'
Case 5 “On Civilian Harm: Chemical weapons

Jun 10, 2021, Wilbert van der Zeijden (PAX)

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