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Russian inquiry to UN: ‘Rebels’, not army, behind Aleppo’s chemical attack

Russian Inquiry to UN: Rebels, Not Army, behind Aleppo’s Chemical Attack

Al Ahed news

Samples taken at the site where the chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels – not the Syrian army – behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said.

Russia handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added.

“I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,” Churkin said on Tuesday.

Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin pointed out.

“It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said.

Churkin added that the contents of the shell “didn’t contain chemical stabilizers in the toxic substance,” and therefore “is not a standard chemical charge.”

According to Moscow, the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3′ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army.

Churkin stressed that unlike other reports which have been handed to the UN, the samples were taken by Russian experts at the scene, without any third party involvement.

More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces.
The Syrian government invited chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane for talks in Damascus on Monday, announcing that a rebels-linked storage site containing piles of dangerous chemicals had been discovered.

“The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, adding that the chemicals were “capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country.”

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Syria militants have used the nerve agent sarin: Russian envoy

Press TV

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations says that firsthand evidence shows that militants, and not the Syrian army, have manufactured sarin nerve gas and used it during an attack near the city of Aleppo in March.

On Tuesday, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russian experts collected samples at the site of the attack in the region of Khan al-Assal, where over two dozen people, including 16 Syrian troops, died on March 19.

The samples were examined at a laboratory in Russia which is certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the results of the analysis prove that a missile fired by the militants was filled with sarin, he stated.

“The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin… The projectile involved is not a standard one for chemical use. Hexogen, utilized as an opening charge, is not utilized in standard ammunitions. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal,” Churkin said.

He went on to say that he had also delivered the evidence to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Britain, France, and the United States have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. Damascus has denied the charges, saying it was actually the militants who used chemical weapons on several occasions…

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