Russia’s UN Ambassador offers claim of chemical weapon use by Syrian armed opposition

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Vitaly Churkin

The Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told correspondents at the UN on Tuesday that he believes the armed opposition in Syria has used chemical weapons.

He recounted a Syrian Government report from earlier this year that accused anti-government forces of launching a gas-laden projectile near Khan al-Assal in the Aleppo governorate.

Twenty six people were reported killed and 86 others were injured in the incident.

The Syrian Government requested the help of some Russian experts to ascertain the facts. This experts' report has just been released.

Ambassador Churkin says he has just – earlier on Tuesday – submitted this report to the Secretary-General with proof that sarin gas was used by Syria’s anti-government forces.

“The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, had, at the request of the Syrian Government in March, appointed Swedish Professor Ǻke Sellström as head of a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Mr. Sellström’s investigation is still ongoing.

Ambassador Churkin said he welcomed the decision by the Syrian Government to invite Mr. Sellström and the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Angela Kane, to visit Syria.

Gerry Adams, United Nations

Duration: 1'41"

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