News / Middle East

Russia: Syrian Rebels Used Chemical Weapons in Aleppo

A general view shows what forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad say is the site where chemical weapon attack occurred, March 23, 2013.
A general view shows what forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad say is the site where chemical weapon attack occurred, March 23, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
— Russia’s U.N. ambassador says he has given the U.N. secretary-general 80 pages of documentation that shows Syrian rebels used chemical weapons in a northern town in March.  

In March, the Syrian government asked the United Nations to investigate its claim rebels used chemical agents in the town of Khan al-Asal in Aleppo province.
That was quickly followed by allegations from Britain and France that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on at least three occasions.

The U.N. chief established a fact-finding mission, but Syria has blocked its entry into the country because the government only wants the incident at Khan al-Asal investigated.

On Tuesday, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Russian experts had taken samples at the site in Khan al-Asal and tested them in a Russian laboratory certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Asal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin.  The sarin technical specifications prove that it was not industrially manufactured either," said Churkin.

Sarin is a potent nerve agent used in chemical weapons.

“Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Asal," he said.

Ambassador Churkin said he has given U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 80 pages of photos, formulas and graphs that support the Russian analysis.  He said he would send this same information to his Western counterparts.

Britain, France and the United States have said in recent months that they have no evidence that Syrian rebels have used chemical agents.

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