UN confirms chemical weapons were used in Syria, repeatedly

14.12.2013 13:56

Chemical weapons were used in the
ongoing conflict in Syria in five out of
seven attacks investigated by United
Nations experts, a report published
Thursday concluded. The weapons
were used both against government
soldiers and civilians -- in one case on
a large scale.
The report stated that victims included
children in some attacks, at least four
of which involved the deadly nerve
agent sarin.
But direct links between the incidents,
the victims and the alleged sites,
couldn't be established with certainty
for each case.
"The United Nations Mission remains
deeply concerned that chemical
weapons were used in the ongoing
conflict between the parties in the
Syrian Arabic Republic, which has
added yet another dimension to the
continued suffering of the Syrian
people," the report read.
The experts responsible for the
report were from the Organization for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
— which was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize this year — and the World
Health Organization.
Read the full report (.pdf)
According to the report, chemical
weapons attacks took place in Khan Al
Asal in March and Jobar, Saraqueb
and Ashrafiah Sahnaya in August.
That same month, chemical
weapons were used against civilians,
including children, on a relatively large
scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus,
the report concluded.
The investigation, however, didn't look
into who the perpetrators of the
attacks were.
Both government forces loyal to
President Bashar Assad and opposition
troops have accused each other of
using chemical weapons.
The conflict, which has been ravaging
the country for more than two and a
half years, has killed more than
100,000 people, according to the U.N.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon will brief the U.N. General
Assembly on the report Friday and the
U.N. Security Council Monday.
"The use of chemical weapons is a
grave violation of international law and
an affront to our shared humanity. We
need to remain vigilant to ensure that
these awful weapons are eliminated,
not only in Syria, but everywhere,"
Ban said.
The Syrian government agreed to
destroy its chemical weapons arsenal
following the Ghouta attack, which
brought about threats of U.S. air
The Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons was charged with
supervising the elimination of Syria's
chemical arsenal.