Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

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

  • US warns Russia against making ‘expensive mistake’ in Ukraine

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • French policemen accused of raping Canadian woman

    Read more

  • Internet should stay free of government intervention, conference says

    Read more

  • A radio station defends peace and tolerance in CAR

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • Ferry disaster, nuclear test fears cloud Obama’s South Korea trip

    Read more

  • Fresh clashes in Rio over dancer's death

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

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

    Read more

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

    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

Middle east

‘Little doubt’ Assad is to blame for sarin attack

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-17

A report by UN investigators appears to confirm that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind an August 21 chemical weapons attack in a suburb of Damascus, the US, France and Britain said Monday.

France, the US and Britain said Monday that a UN report on chemical weapon use in Syria shows, with “little doubt”, that President Bashar al-Assad was behind a sarin gas attack last month that killed hundreds of civilians.

The UN inspectors’ report, made public Monday, said that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale during the attack in a suburb of Damascus on August 21.

“The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used ... in the Ghouta area of Damascus,” it said.

“The conclusion is that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic ... against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”

The Syrian rebels and their Western and Arab supporters blame Assad’s regime for the attack in the rebel-controlled area of Ghouta. The Assad regime insists that the attack was carried out by rebels – a view that has been supported by Russia.

The UN team was investigating only whether chemical weapons were used in a deadly assault on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The report does not say who launched the attack, although the British and French envoys said technical details in it pointed to government culpability.

‘Only the regime could have carried out this large-scale attack’

“When you look at the findings carefully, the quantities of toxic gas used, the complexity of the mixes, the nature, and the trajectory of the [gas] carriers, it leaves absolutely no doubt as to the origin of the attack,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio.

“It reinforces the position of those that have said the regime is guilty.”

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said “only the regime could have carried out this large-scale attack”, adding that the quality of the sarin was higher than that used by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein against Iran and there is no evidence the rebels possess the nerve agent.

However, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, though calling the investigators’ conclusion “deeply disturbing”, stressed that it was too early to jump to conclusions.
“Allegations that in fact it was the opposition who used chemical weapons cannot be simply shrugged off,” he said. “Those allegations also need to be very seriously investigated.”

Syria chemical weapons plan ‘to begin in a matter of days’

The alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad led to threats of military strikes against his regime by the US and others. But a diplomatic breakthrough came last week in the form of a US-Russian plan that will see Syria hand over its chemical weapons arsenal to the international community.

Following the publication of Monday’s report, the watchdog tasked with implementing the plan said the programme to remove Assad’s chemical weapons should begin the "in a matter of days”.

The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement that its experts "are already at work preparing a roadmap that anticipates the various challenges involved in verifying Syria's declared stockpiles".

The US-Russian plan requires Assad to provide a complete inventory of its chemical weapons, production facilities, and "related materials" to the OPCW "on an expeditious basis".
 

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-17

  • SYRIA

    UN report: 'clear evidence' sarin gas used in Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Diplomatic push for ‘strong’ UN resolution on Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Ban to present UN report on Syria chemical weapons

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)