The nerve agent had been detected in tests of samples in french laboratories, french minister laurent fabius said in paris on tuesday. UN investigators find chemical weapons likely to have been used at least four times. There are "sufficient grounds" to believe this, the syria commission, appointed by the UN human rights council, said tuesday in its latest report to the UN human rights council in geneva.
The use of chemical weapons is a punishable war crime under international conventions. The UN commission, however, qualified: "on the basis of the available evidence, it was not possible to determine the specific chemical substance, the launching system or the perpetrator."But the suspicion is directed primarily against government troops.
The U.S. Government reacted cautiously. More evidence needed to be gathered on who was responsible for the probable use of chemical weapons and under what circumstances it occurred, white house spokesman jay carney said in washington. "We do not rely on the UN alone."U.S. President barack obama warned syrian president basar al-assad months ago that the use of chemical weapons was a "red line" that had been crossed.
Most of the evidence of chemical weapons use involved government forces, says the latest situation report by the UN group of experts led by brazilian diplomat paulo pinheiro. It could not be ruled out that rebels also had access to chemical weapons, including nerve gas. However, there is no "compelling evidence" that these groups have them or the necessary launch systems.
The investigators, who were not allowed to enter syria, rely heavily on interviewing witnesses in or from abroad. Four attacks in the provinces of aleppo, idlib, and damascus on 19 march were reported to have killed. March as well as on 13. And 19. April "toxic chemicals" may have been used to a limited extent. Further investigations in syria are necessary.
The human rights organization human rights watch believes that at least 147 people have also been executed. Their body names were discovered in a river in aleppo between january and march. This had apparently occurred in areas controlled by government forces. The syrian conflict has cost at least 80,000 lives since it began in march 2011, according to the un.
Russia, meanwhile, declared that it had not yet delivered S-300 air defense systems to syria, following international criticism. President vladimir putin said at the EU-russia summit in yekaterinburg that the treaty was concluded several years ago, but "has not yet been realized. The kremlin leader stressed that moscow was not violating international law because there was no arms embargo against syria. Israel fears advanced combat technology is reaching hezbollah via syria.
European union experts meet in brussels to discuss classification of lebanese hezbollah militant arm as a terrorist organization. The meeting was confirmed from EU circles. The shiites are fighting on the side of the regime in the civil war, especially near the small town of al-kusair in the border region.