Use of chemical weapons in Syria:
Hard evidence in Britain’s handsSoil sample taken from area close to Damascus, smuggled back
to Britain provides proof that ‘some kind of chemical weapon’ has been
fired. Chemicals leave both sides pointing fingersMiddle East Online LONDON:
military scientists have found forensic evidence that chemical weapons have been
used in the conflict in Syria, the Times newspaper reported on Saturday.
A soil sample thought to have been taken from an
area close to Damascus and smuggled back to Britain has provided proof that
"some kind of chemical weapon" had been fired, it quoted defence sources as
The tests were carried out at the Ministry of
Defence's chemical and biological research establishment at Porton Down, it
added in the front-page story.
Diplomats at the United Nations said on Thursday
that Western Nations have "hard evidence" that chemical weapons have been used
at least once in the Syrian war, without giving details.
The British team were unable to discern whether
the weapons had been fired by President Bashar al-Assad's regime or by the
rebels fighting him, nor could they say if there had been widespread use, The
It cited an unnamed source as saying: "There have
been some reports that it was just a strong riot-control agent but this is not
the case -- it's something else, although it can't definitively be said to be
sarin nerve agent."
The Ministry of Defence had no comment when
contacted, although the Foreign Office said it was deeply concerned about the
possible use of chemical weapons.
"We are deeply concerned about multiple
reports alleging the use of chemical weapons in Syria," a spokesman said.
We have shared our concerns with the UN secretary
general and fully support his decision to investigate.
The use of chemical weapons would be a horrific
crime. Those who order the use of chemical weapons, and those who participate in
their use, will be brought to account."
Assad's government has asked the United Nations to
investigate its claims that opposition rebels fired a chemical weapon shell in
Aleppo province on March 19.
In response, the UN assembled a team of
international experts, led by Ake Sellstrom of Sweden, in the region.
But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem wrote to
UN chief Ban Ki-moon this week saying the government could not accept an inquiry
that extended to claims against its own forces.