Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

Middle east

UK confirms use of chemical weapons in Syria, media say

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-13

Tests at the British Ministry of Defence on a Syrian soil sample reveal that chemical weapons have been used in the conflict, The Times reported on Saturday. A diplomatic source said Thursday that "hard evidence" confirmed the weapons had been used.

British military scientists have found forensic evidence that chemical weapons have been used in the conflict in Syria, the Times newspaper reported on Saturday.

A soil sample thought to have been taken from an area close to Damascus and smuggled back to Britain has provided proof that "some kind of chemical weapon" had been fired, it quoted defence sources as saying.

The tests were carried out at the Ministry of Defence's chemical and biological research establishment at Porton Down, it added in the front-page story.

FRANCE 24 Debate: Syria, two years on

Diplomats at the United Nations said on Thursday that Western Nations have "hard evidence" that chemical weapons have been used at least once in the Syrian war, without giving details.

The British team were unable to discern whether the weapons had been fired by President Bashar al-Assad's regime or by the rebels fighting him, nor could they say if there had been widespread use, The Times said.

It cited an unnamed source as saying: "There have been some reports that it was just a strong riot-control agent but this is not the case -- it's something else, although it can't definitively be said to be sarin nerve agent."

The Ministry of Defence had no comment when contacted by AFP, although the Foreign Office said it was deeply concerned about the possible use of chemical weapons.

"We are deeply concerned about multiple reports alleging the use of chemical weapons in Syria," a spokesman said.

Syrian government requests UN chemical attack probe
"We have shared our concerns with the UN secretary general and fully support his decision to investigate.

"The use of chemical weapons would be a horrific crime. Those who order the use of chemical weapons, and those who participate in their use, will be brought to account."

Assad's government has asked the United Nations to investigate its claims that opposition rebels fired a chemical weapon shell in Aleppo province on March 19.

In response, the UN assembled a team of international experts, led by Ake Sellstrom of Sweden, in the region.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem wrote to UN chief Ban Ki-moon this week saying the government could not accept an inquiry that extended to claims against its own forces.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-04-13

  • SYRIA

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

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria rejects expanded UN chemical weapons inquiry

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Swedish scientist to lead UN Syria chemical weapons probe

    Read more

COMMENT(S)