18 September 2013

Differing views on the UN chemical weapons report

The much anticipated report from United Nations chemical weapons inspectors in Syria was finally released on Monday. The group’s findings pointed towards the use of chemical weapons by Syrian armed forces. The US and UN made strong statements about Syria’s use of the weapons. Russia is again the dissenter.

However, the Syrian government is not directly assigned blame. Rather the information provided in the report strongly indicates that the attacks were carried out by Syrian government troops.

“The environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide a clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used,” conclude the inspectors.

The attack was deadlier that it may have otherwise been due to the fact that it was launched in the cooler morning. The report says that air moving down to the ground made it easier for the gas to spread once deployed and more easily enter the lower levels of buildings.

People who were at the scene of the attacks told the inspectors that they experienced symptoms ranging from blurred vision and shortness of breath to vomiting and loss of consciousness. Those that ran to help described people laying on the ground dead or unconscious. They too began to experience some of the effects of the nerve agent.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said there is no doubt that chemical weapons were used in Syria on August 21.

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