Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

An overly optimistic plan?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

#NYPD Fail

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Soaring iPhone sales in China boost Apple earnings

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Middle east

West has 'evidence' of Syria chemical weapons, diplomats say

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-12

Western diplomats say they have "hard evidence" chemical weapons have been used at least once in the Syrian civil war, but the Assad regime is refusing to let international experts into the country to investigate the claim.

Western nations have "hard evidence" that chemical weapons have been used at least once in the Syrian war but a UN investigation is now unlikely to get into the country, diplomats said Thursday.

President Bashar al-Assad's government asked the UN to investigate its claims against rebel forces. But it is now refusing to let international experts into the country because the UN wants to look into claims against Assad's forces.

"In one case we have hard evidence," a western diplomat told reporters, commenting on the rival claims.

"There are several examples where we are quite sure that shells with chemicals have been used in a very sporadic way," added the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving details of the evidence.

A diplomat from a UN Security Council nation also said that "quite convincing" evidence had been sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to back accusations against Assad's forces.

Britain and France have submitted information to the United Nations about allegations that government forces used chemical arms in the city of Homs on December 23 and at Ataybah near Damascus last month. Neither has disclosed details but the Homs case is said to be the most serious of the two.

The Syrian government called for a UN investigation after it said opposition rebels fired a chemical weapon shell into Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province on March 19.

Syrian government troops were among those killed or wounded in the attack, according to diplomats.

The UN has assembled a team of international experts, led by Ake Sellstrom of Sweden, in the region. But Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem wrote to Ban this week saying his government could not accept an inquiry that went beyond the Aleppo incident.

"It is regrettable that the Syrian government has rejected my offer to engage in (an) investigation," Ban said Thursday after talks with US President Barack Obama in Washington.

Ban had demanded "unfettered access" to all of Syria before sending the team. "They are now ready. They can be deployed any time soon; so this is my urgent appeal," Ban told reporters.

UN Security Council diplomats said communications between the Syrian government and the United Nations had been severely cut back. They added that the chemical weapons inquiry was now likely to fall victim to divisions on the 15-nation council.

Russia and China have blocked three council resolutions intended to increase pressure on Assad over the conflict, including by threatening sanctions.

But with the conflict worsening -- well over 70,000 people have now been killed -- the international showdown over the conflict has also deteriorated. Ban has blamed the divisions for the failure to make progress on a negotiated settlement to the war.

"It is obvious that the Security Council is going to go nowhere on Syria. It is totally blocked," said a senior council envoy.

(AFP)
 

Date created : 2013-04-12

  • G8

    G8 ministers condemn N. Korea, fail to agree on Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria's al Nusra militants vow allegiance to al Qaeda

    Read more

  • HAARETZ

    Jewish sites in Syria are latest front in propaganda war

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)