U.N. confirms chemical arms were used repeatedly in Syria

UNITED NATIONS Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:22pm EST

Ake Sellstrom (L), Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, hands his report over to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations headquarters in New York December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Ake Sellstrom (L), Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, hands his report over to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations headquarters in New York December 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Chemical weapons were likely used in five out of seven attacks investigated by U.N. experts in Syria, where a 2 1/2-year civil war has killed more than 100,000 people, according to the final report of a U.N. inquiry published on Thursday.

The U.N. investigators said the deadly nerve agent sarin was likely used in four of the incidents, in one case on a large scale.

The report noted that in several cases the victims included government soldiers and civilians, though it was not always possible to establish with certainty any direct links between the attacks, the victims and the alleged sites of the incidents.

"The United Nations Mission concludes that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic," the final report by chief U.N. investigator Ake Sellstrom said.

The investigation found likely use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal, near the northern city of Aleppo, in March; in Saraqeb, near the northern city of Idlib, in April; and in Jobar and Ashrafiat Sahnaya, near Damascus, in August.

As initially reported by Sellstrom in September, the experts found "clear and convincing" evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used on a large scale against civilians in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta on August 21, killing hundreds of people.

In the final report on Thursday the experts said sarin had likely also been used on a small-scale in Jobar, Saraqeb and Ashrafiat Sahnaya.

The inquiry was only looking at whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons, and both have denied it.

TOTAL 16 ALLEGATIONS

Rebels have seized all kinds of weapons from military depots across the country, according to the United Nations. Western powers say the rebels do not have access to chemical arms.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the Sellstrom investigation after the Syrian government wrote to him accusing the rebels of carrying out the chemical weapons attack in Khan al-Assal.

The United Nations has since received a total of 16 reports of possible chemical weapons use in Syria, mainly from the Syrian government, Britain, France and the United States. The experts looked closely at seven of those cases.

The U.N. experts were from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organization.

France, Britain and the United States said the technical details of Sellstrom's initial report on the August 21 attack pointed to government culpability, while Syria and Russia blamed the rebels.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government agreed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal after the August 21 Ghouta attack, which had led to threats of U.S. air strikes. Syria also acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution in September to enforce the deal, brokered by the United States and Russia, which requires Syria to account fully for its chemical weapons and for the arsenal to be removed and destroyed by mid-2014.

The Hague-based OPCW has been charged with supervising the elimination of Syria's chemical arsenal.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jim Loney)

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Comments (3)
RobertFrost wrote:
This confirms the earlier reports about the attacks, or at least five of them.

The culprit, often assumed to be the Syrian regime, is however, in doubt. The finding of the well-respected investigative journalist, Seymour Hirsh seem to point the fingers at “Nusrah Front.”

Hirsh’s report, which was published in the “London Review of Books,” because the “New Yoker” and the “Washington Post” declined to touch it, makes it clear that President Obama knew well from intelligence reports that this Al-Qa’ida affiliate have the precursor chemicals and the know how to produce Sarin gas.

Given that in every “incidence” the Syrian regime had the upper hand, it does not need Sherlock Holms to determine who did it.

The senior CIA sources who spoke to him were livid at the selectivity of their reports about chemical weapon use in Syria – not only that, but that every storage area of chemical weapons was closely watched by the US intelligence satellites, and that they even dropped “sensors” around them to alert the CIA and the military of any movement of chemical weapons from these government stores… And none were.

There is other evidence, from rocket experts for example, which contradicts the statements of some of the President’s close advisers, to the extent that the call for invading Syria had the same look and feel as that for Iraq.

I wonder why the “New Yorker” and the “Washington Post” declined to publish this important material… But they did not ‘rock the boat” in the case of the “Gulf of Tunkin” fabrication nor that of the “WMDs in Iraq.”

So I wonder again!

Dec 12, 2013 5:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
RobertFrost wrote:
This confirms the earlier reports about the attacks, or at least five of them.

The culprit, often assumed to be the Syrian regime, is however, in doubt. The finding of the well-respected investigative journalist, Seymour Hirsh seem to point the fingers at “Nusrah Front.”

Hirsh’s report, which was published in the “London Review of Books,” because the “New Yoker” and the “Washington Post” declined to touch it, makes it clear that President Obama knew well from intelligence reports that this Al-Qa’ida affiliate have the precursor chemicals and the know how to produce Sarin gas.

Given that in every “incidence” the Syrian regime had the upper hand, it does not need Sherlock Holms to determine who did it.

The senior CIA sources who spoke to him were livid at the selectivity of their reports about chemical weapon use in Syria – not only that, but that every storage area of chemical weapons was closely watched by the US intelligence satellites, and that they even dropped “sensors” around them to alert the CIA and the military of any movement of chemical weapons from these government stores… And none were.

There is other evidence, from rocket experts for example, which contradicts the statements of some of the President’s close advisers, to the extent that the call for invading Syria had the same look and feel as that for Iraq.

I wonder why the “New Yorker” and the “Washington Post” declined to publish this important material… But they did not ‘rock the boat” in the case of the “Gulf of Tunkin” fabrication nor that of the “WMDs in Iraq.”

So I wonder again!

Dec 12, 2013 5:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DemosthenesII wrote:
The ultimate goal of this indebted, American regime is to act as Janissaries to our ostensible, perfidious and duplicitous allies; the Sunni oil sheiks of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan. We serve the Sunni-Zionist alliance by attacking and destroying every Shia led nation like Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran and replacing the government with hordes of Hasan ibn Sabbah, “Old men of the Mountain”, assassins. These Suni wahabbi trrorist follow the cult of , establishedlong ago .These fanatical jihadist are controlled, armed, aided and abbeted by the sheiks of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan, the same ones who influence ouur White House and State Dept. The Sunni soil sheiks of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan are re-creating the Sunni Empire of Suileman the Magnificent, and leaving any terrorory or country, especially a Shia one, that may pose as a rival into a state of barbarous anarchy, where Sunni -Wahabbi , “Old men of the Mountain” assassins and terrorist rule like warlords and the regions like Iraq and Libya for example, rife with internecine strife.
This maddening collusion of Sunni Musims, Marxist liberals and progressive and Zionist plutocrats presents the world with a near incomprehensible Machiavelllian play in which citizens and soldiers are used as dispensible pawns. For example, we ostensibly attack Sunni jihaddist in the Central African Republic, who are armed and supported by our allies; the Al Queda of Syria. We give aid to the same Pakistan government that is building three nuclear plants and nuclear weapons with the Chinese, and are building a submarine base to attack the 7th Fleet in the Persian Gulf and the same nation that supports and abbets the Taliban and Alqueda sects that are killing our soldiers in Afghanistan.
We need wise and natioalistic leaders, like those in China and Russia. We need a government that works to promote the prosperity of its citizens and does not betray them using UN, Pacific free Trade Treaties, GATT, WTO and other traeties to undermine the frreedom and prosperity of American. We need nationalist leadrs who do not betray their citizens with environmental treaties that shut down factories, mills mines so that other nations, like China, can benefit. And we need to quit serving the interest of Israel and the Zionist plutocrats who control the FED, IMF, World bank et all and quit serving the interest of those treacherous cabal of Sunni oil Sheiks. Benedict Arnold wanted America to be a subservient fief to a global empire ruled by an elite caste of feudal lords and plutocrats. It appears many of our politicians want the same thing.

Dec 12, 2013 6:48pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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