News / Middle East

UN Report on Syria Leaves Little Doubt about Chemical Weapons

UN Report on Syria Leaves Little Doubt about Chemical Weaponsi
X
September 17, 2013 11:48 PM
There is a growing consensus that details contained in a U.N. report of last month’s chemical attack in Syria leave little doubt as to who was responsible. Military analysts say the direction from which the rockets were fired and other factors point squarely to the Assad government even as Syria's allies continue to offer a different narrative. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
There is a growing consensus that details contained in a U.N. report of last month’s chemical attack in Syria leave little doubt as to who was responsible.  Military analysts say the direction from which the rockets were fired and other factors point squarely to the Assad government even as Syria's allies continue to offer a different narrative.

Around the Syrian capital, the skyline is punctuated by pillars of dark smoke.  Neighborhoods hit by chemical weapons look like ghost towns.

A contrast to the panic and suffering of a month ago.

Now, after U.N. inspectors released their report, experts like Salman Shaikh from The Brookings Doha Center say there can be no doubt as to what happened.

“I don’t think we should labor this point today in terms of who did it.  It’s quite clear that the regime did it,“ Shaikh said.

To back up the claim, analysts point to the work of the U.N. inspectors, who pored over the evidence and made detailed notes on how and where the rockets landed.

Based on that, analysts at Human Rights Watch mapped the paths of two rockets from their point of impact to a likely point of origin, a Syrian military base.

Other military analysts point out the rebels simply don't have access to the types of surface-to-surface rockets used in the August 21 attack.

But in Moscow Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted questions remain.

"We want the events of the 21st of August to be impartially, objectively, professionally investigated," he said. "We have serious grounds to believe that it was a provocation."

Such doubts give hope to supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, being forced only to hand over his chemical weapons to international control and nothing more.

“It clearly is so far demonstrating that you can use these weapons and there is relatively little accountability," said Brookings analyst Shaikh.

Many analysts fear that message will only set the stage for more intense fighting and more Syrian skylines sullied by smoke.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid