U.N. inspectors’ report: ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that chemical weapons were used in Syria

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

For all the media villages who have been playing the game of "show us the (classified) evidence" of chemical weapons use in Syria, the U.N. inspectors said Monday there is "clear and convincing evidence" that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people. UN: 'Convincing evidence' of Syria chemical attack:

The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific
experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, but the
report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered. The
rebels and their U.S. and Western supporters have said the regime of
President Bashar Assad was behind the Aug. 21 attack, while the Syrian
government and its closest ally, Russia, blame the rebels.

Note: The inspectors were mandated to report on whether chemical weapons were used and if so which ones — not on who was responsible.

And in Geneva, the chairman of a U.N. war crimes panel said it is
investigating 14 suspected chemical attacks in Syria, dramatically
escalating the stakes. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said the panel had not
pinpointed the chemical used or who is responsible.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the U.N. inspectors' report
to a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council before its release.

"This is a war crime and a grave violation of … international law,"
Ban told the council in remarks distributed to the press. "The results
are overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak for themselves."

The inspectors' report said "the environmental, chemical and medical
samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that
surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used
… in the Ghouta area of Damascus" on Aug. 21.

"The conclusion is that chemical weapons have been used in the
ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also
against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale," the
inspectors said in their report to Ban.

* * *

In the report, chief weapons inspector Ake Sellstrom said the team
was issuing the findings on the Ghouta attacks "without prejudice" to
its continuing investigation and final report on the alleged use of
chemical weapons in three other areas. The letter said it hoped to
produce that report as soon as possible.

Under an Aug. 13 agreement between the U.N. and the Syrian
government, Sellstrom's team was scheduled to investigate an alleged
chemical weapons attack on March 19 on the village of Khan al Assal
outside Aleppo and alleged attacks on two other sites which were kept
secret for security reasons.

The inspectors' report for the first time identified the two sites still to be investigated as Sheik Maqsood and Saraqueb.

* * *

In London, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said Syria will
comply with all Security Council resolutions and will facilitate the
mission of the U.N. inspectors in line with the Russian-U.S. agreement.
The comments were carried by state-run SANA news agency, which said
al-Zoubi made the comments in an interview with Britain-based ITN TV on
Sunday.

Meanwhile, invitations were going out Monday to top members of the
Syrian National Coalition — the main umbrella opposition group — for an
international conference in New York timed to coincide with next week's
U.N. General Assembly meeting
, French officials said.

The
Syrian National Coalition previously has refused to participate in international peace talks in Geneva. After Kerry, Lavrov Meet in Geneva, Hope Grows for New Round of Syria Peace Talks.

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