(Removes typo to make town name read Khan al-Assal in 2nd
GENEVA, March 5 Chemical weapons used in two
incidents in Syria last year appear to come from the stockpiles
of the Syrian military, United Nations human rights
investigators said on Wednesday in a report that went beyond
The team of independent experts, led by Brazilian Paulo
Pinheiro, said that chemical agents used in the Damascus suburb
of al-Ghouta on Aug. 21 and in Khan al-Assal near Aleppo in
March 2013 bore "the same unique hallmarks".
"The evidence available concerning the nature, quality and
quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the
perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile
of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment
necessary to manipulate safely large amount of chemical agents,"
the investigators said in the report.
"Concerning the incident in Khan al-Assal on 19 March, the
chemical agents used in that attack bore the same unique
hallmarks as those used in al-Ghouta," the report said.
Without categorically saying which side was to blame, chief
United Nations investigator Ake Sellstrom, who led a team of
inspectors in Syria, said in January it was "difficult to see"
how the opposition could have weaponised the toxins used.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Louise Ireland)