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Middle east

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

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-16

A report by UN investigators, due to be presented to the UN Security Council on Monday, will confirm that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that sarin gas was used in an August 21 attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus.

A report by UN inspectors due to be made public on Monday will say that there is “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month that killed hundreds of people in Syria.

Inspectors will say that “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” on August 21.

“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 report will add.

The information was in the first page of the report which was inadvertently leaked when it was included in an official picture of UN investigation leader Ake Sellstrom handing over the document to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban is scheduled to present the full report to the UN Security Council in New York at 11:15am local time (15:15 GMT) on Monday morning.

The August 21 chemical attack unfolded as a UN chemical weapons team was in Syria to investigate earlier reported attacks. After days of delays, the inspectors were allowed access to victims, doctors and others in the Damascus suburbs.

Inspectors were mandated to report on whether chemical weapons were used and if so which ones – not on who was responsible.

The rebels and their Western and Arab supporters blame President Bashar al-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.

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.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-16

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