Chemical weapons were “clearly” used in Syria — but most likely by Syrian rebels, not the Syrian army, according to Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations.
A team of Russian experts made the assessment after visited Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, where Syria claimed rebels had used chemical weapons in a March attack, CNN wrote.
The attack reportedly killed 26 people, including 16 regime troops.
CNN quoted Russia’s envoy, Vitaly Churkin, as saying:
“The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin [poison gas].”
Rebels had accused Syria of using chemical weapons in another part of the country at the same time, CNN added.
RT said Russia had handed over their samples taken at the site of the “chemical attack” to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
Churkin continued by saying that the projectile involved in the Khan al-Assal attack was 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.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in April that the U.S. had “evidence that the chemical weapon sarin has been used in Syria on a small scale.”
However, it was the Syrian government that the White House accused of crossing a “red line” by using chemical weapons against its people.
While a spokesman for Ban said the secretary-general “takes seriously all credible allegations,” the U.S. cast doubt on the analysis, according to an ABC report.
Washington has called for full UN access to Syrian sites where chemical weapons use is suspected.
This article originally was published by Global Post.