News / Middle East

Russia Denounces UN Chemical Report on Syria

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (CR) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (CL) in Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (CR) meets Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (CL) in Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
VOA News
Russia has sharply criticized the new United Nations report on the August 21 gas attack in Syria, calling it "biased, incomplete, distorted and one-sided."

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said Wednesday that Syria has provided new evidence revealing that rebels were the ones who carried out the deadly attack last month outside Damascus.

His remarks came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also questioned the U.N. report, saying there are "serious grounds to believe" the incident was a provocation carried out by the rebel side.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

Asked about the Russian criticisms, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky called the findings in the report "indisputable." He said "they speak for themselves and this was a thoroughly objective report on that specific incident."

Western countries and human rights groups said the findings, presented earlier this week, implicated the Syrian regime in using sarin for that attack. They cited the report's detailed annexes on the types of weapons used, their trajectories and the amount of gas they carried.

Despite their disagreement on the report, Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States have agreed to work toward a United Nations resolution governing the removal of Syria's chemical arsenal.

UN Report on Ghouta Attack

  • Chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale
  • Environmental, chemical and medical evidence provides clear evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing sarin were used

  • Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets were found to contain sarin
  • Close to rocket impact sites, the environment was found to contain sarin
  • Patients/survivors were diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound
  • Blood and urine samples from those patients were positive for sarin and sarin signatures

Source: UN
Diplomats from those countries, which make up the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, are due to gather again Wednesday to discuss the proposed resolution. Their main roadblock is whether to include the threat of military action to enforce the measure, which Russia and China have opposed.

Syria's deputy foreign minister said his government is confident the United Nations will not adopt the resolution under Chapter VII, which could allow the use of force if Damascus does not uphold the disarmament plan.

Also Wednesday, chief U.N. chemical weapons inspector Ake Sellstrom said his team will return to Syria "within weeks" to follow up on several more allegations of chemical weapons use.

Sellstrom, head of the inspection team that went to Syria last month, said the group will evaluate "allegations of chemical weapons use from both sides, but perhaps mainly from the Syrian government's side."

He said there are 13 or 14 alleged incidents that "have to be investigated," adding that inspectors would not be addressing the question of who was responsible for the August 21 gas attack in which the United States claims more than 1,400 people died.

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Comment Sorting
by: AAR from: global
September 19, 2013 5:21 PM
No honest actors in this tragic drama....You have a butcher (Assad) killing his own citizens...and you have Islamic extremists fighting for their own beliefs for the Middle East....what to do? Not much...only sit back and watch the nightmare play out....tragic....USA...stay out!!

by: Ly Thuong Kiet from: Vietnam
September 19, 2013 5:14 AM
The UN inspectors must be replaced by another team of inspectors because they have failed to point out who was behind the chemical attack and because they have issued a one-sided report which does not contain every evidence given to them.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 18, 2013 8:54 AM
This is all the more reason why there is a need for total disintegration of what is called Syrian regime under Mr. Assad and Syrian National Council or whatever the name the rebel go by. There is no more relevance of any of them, and there is total distrust right now reigning supreme in the country. The fact that Syria is an intractable problem to the so-called security council proves also the irrelevance of the Security Council as presently constituted.

As proposed for Syria to be collapsed and new regime formulated, so also the security council, and if need be, the entire UN should be collapsed and a proper global organization that will not be biased, politicized and one-sided, a body that will rise to its bidding in the face of present Syria-like situation and come up with united resolution to save lives, reunite a warring nation(s) and bring peace to the troubled world be formed. At the moment everyone knows that the collapse of the US under the Syrian bug, the double speak of the European counterparts, and the stupid vehement stubbornness of Russia and China make nonsense of the whole situation at the UN.

The world is watching until no tangible action is taken to bring the chemical warfare on Syrian people to book before a global uproar that will be more intractable for the ill-formed UN, the US and allies to handle. Then it will be either the security council itself will opt to resign or a parallel body will be formed to which peace loving countries will shift attention in preference for the UN. That will lead to the natural disintegration of an organization that refuses to grow up and live up to its billing.

by: ali baba from: new york
September 18, 2013 8:15 AM
who was using chemical weapons? is us can make clear identification about who is the bad guy. the fact both of them are bad. the only fact the rebel belong to terrorist organization such as Muslim. brotherhood. Muslim brotherhood has a lobby in us whom describe them as a peaceful and democratic seekers. this is absurd. look at what Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. in Libya. did we forget how many million people killed in Sudan by Sudanese RADICAL MUSLIM Gov.

by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
September 18, 2013 7:44 AM
It is a miracle that the five countries in the Sec. Council have at least agreed on some action. This, despite the childishness on the part of both sides insisting that they have some strong evidence to disprove the other side of the issue as to who the real culprits are. Grow up folks and share the entire evidence so that the world can decide on who are all to be held accountable. Sometime, when an average Joe like me listen to these so called diplomats, it makes me wonder where do these people come from and do they really have the qualification to do what they are supposed to be doing.

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