Chemical arms used in Syria a war crime: Ban

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Chemical arms used in Syria a war crime: Ban

UN leader Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council on Monday that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a “war crime” and demanded the threat of sanctions to back a plan to destroy the arms.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 16 Sep 2013, 11:53 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:40 PM

Ban made the comments in closed consultations of the 15-nation Security Council at which he told how doctors found people dying in the street after a sarin gas attack near Damascus on August 21, diplomats at the meeting said.

Banned chemical weapons have been used on a wide scale in the Syria war and there is clear evidence sarin killed hundreds of people in one major attack, UN inspectors said on Monday. Chemical arms have been used in the 30-month-old conflict “on a relatively large scale,” says the report to be released by UN leader Ban Ki-moon. UN experts, who went to Syria last month, are not allowed to say who carried out the attacks. But they said there is “clear and convincing” evidence that sarin gas killed hundreds of people in an attack on Ghouta near Damascus on August 21.

The attack sparked threats by the United States and other western nations of a military strike on President Bashar Al Assad’s forces. The United States says more than 1,400 people died in Ghouta. “Surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used” in the August 21 attack, said the report.

“The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used” in Ghouta, said the first page of the inspectors’ report, which was inadvertently leaked by the United Nations. “This result leaves us with the deepest concern,” they added.

A UN-mandated independent commission of inquiry into rights violations in the Syria war announced separately on Monday that it was investigating 14 alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The UN experts went to Damascus on August 18 to investigate claims that chemical weapons were used at Khan Al Asal, near Aleppo on March 19 and at two other sites, which were named on Monday as Sheik Maqmood and Saraqueb.

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