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Syria chemical arms ‘probably used’ in five cases, UN finds

Chemical weapons were “probably used” at five out of seven sites in Syria, UN investigators say in their report.

In two cases, the weapons targeted soldiers, and in a third, soldiers and civilians, the report says.

The report has not determined whether the government or rebels had used the weapons.

The inspectors had already confirmed the deadly nerve gas sarin was used in an attack near Damascus on 21 August which killed hundreds.

The report said it had evidence that chemical weapons in Ghouta, Khan al-Assal, Jobar, Saraqueb and Ashrafieh Sahnaya.

However, the inspectors said they could not corroborate their use in incidents in Bahariyeh and Sheik Maqsood.

Their findings were based on assessment of evidence found at the various sites, including surface-to-surface rockets, medical samples, and on interviews with victims and medical clinicians.

On Friday the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is due to brief the UN’s General Assembly on the inspectors’ findings in closed session.

In the aftermath of the attack on the Ghouta region near Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allowed international inspectors to begin destroying chemical weapons under the Syrian government’s control on the basis of a US-Russian agreement.

The OPCW confirmed last month that some of the arms will be “neutralised” aboard a US Navy ship. The operations on board the ship should be completed by the end of the year, the OPCW says.

However on Monday the head of the (OPCW) warned that it would be “quite difficult to meet” the 31 December deadline for transporting the most toxic chemicals out of the country.


Related story:

Let The Inspectors Work This Time In Syria!

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