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Syrian rebels used chemical weapons- UN
May 6, 2013, 1:34 pm

A large group of Syrian refugees escape escalating violence [Getty Images]

A large group of Syrian refugees escape escalating violence [Getty Images]

The United Nations commission to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Syria has heard testimony that the rebels have used chemical weapons, a leading UN official on Syria said in a recent interview with a Swiss-Italian TV network.

“According to the testimonies that we have collected, the rebels have used chemical weapons, by using sarin gas,” Carla Del Ponte, Commissioner of the UN commission to monitor and investigate reported human rights abuses in Syria told Radiotelevisione svizzera.

She said that these accounts came from victims, doctors and field hospitals in neighboring countries, Reuters reported.

“Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” she said.

“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.

She gave no further details about when or where sarin gas may have been used.

Last month, the White House said in a letter to lawmakers that intelligence gathered by the United States, with the help of opposition forces in Syria, shows the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale, but this evidence was later questioned as unclear.

Sarin is a highly toxic nerve agent, which was reportedly first used for military purposes during the Iran–Iraq war in the 1980s.

In August 2011, the UN Human Rights Council set up the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to investigate alleged human rights violations in the country.

Carla Del Ponte was appointed its commissioner in September 2012.

According to recent UN figures, since March 2011, about 70,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war, over 3.6 million people within Syria are classed as “internally displaced,” and over 1.3 million have fled the country.

Source: Agencies

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