Colombo (News 1st) - France has issued arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for crimes against humanity over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, in a rare instance of a country seeking the arrest of a sitting leader of another country, foreign media reported on Thursday.
Four warrants were issued by two French judges against four persons, including Assad, and his brother, for complicity in crimes against humanity and complicity in war crimes. An Interpol Red Notice is expected to follow, which would call on all states to arrest Assad should he travel outside of Syria.
The case was filed by the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, the Open Society Justice Initiative, and the Syrian Archive for an attack on the town of Douma in 2013 in which over 1,000 people are believed to have died.
More than 500,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, which commenced in 2012 between Assad's government forces and many factions which are seeking to overthrow him and are also opposed to each other. Russia supports Assad, while the U.S. is involved in supporting some factions. Both superpowers have deployed ground troops and warplanes to Syria which are regularly involved in the fighting.