Russian inquiry to UN: Rebels, not Army, behind Syria Aleppo sarin attack

Samples taken at the Syrian town where chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels – not the Syrian army – behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said.

Russia has handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added.

“I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon),” Churkin said on Tuesday.

Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin pointed out.

“It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said.

Churkin added that the contents of the shell “didn’t contain chemical stabilizers in the toxic substance,”and therefore “is not a standard chemical charge.” The RDX – an explosive nitroamine commonly used for industrial and military applications – found in the warhead was not consistent with what the armed forces use.

According to Moscow, the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3’ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)

Churkin stressed that unlike other reports which have been handed to the UN, the samples were taken by Russian experts at the scene, without any third party involvement.

More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces.

However, the UN investigation has largely become stalled after a group of Western nations insisted on launching an inquiry into a separate case of alleged chemical weapons use in Homs in December 2012. The inquiry requires access to military objects, which Damascus has been unwilling to give.

The UN has also decided to exclude Russian and Chinese experts from the investigation team, withSyria protesting this decision.

So far, the UN commission of inquiry for Syria has not found any conclusive evidence proving that either side of the conflict used chemical weapons. This is despite several reports submitted by the US, UK and France, which claim to show that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces used such weapons.

Syria finds enough chemicals to ‘destroy the whole country’

The Syrian government invited chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane for talks in Damascus on Monday, announcing that a rebels-linked storage site containing piles of dangerous chemicals had been discovered.

“The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, adding that the chemicals were “capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country.” Continue reading

Security Council fails to condemn Terrorism in Syria – Foreign Ministry

In two identical letters directed to the Chairman of the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General, the Syrian Foreign Ministry, on Monday, stressed that the failure of the UN Security Council to condemn the bombing in Daf al-Shouk has encouraged terrorists to continue committing crimes against the Syrian people.

In the two letters which the Ministry demanded by issued as official Security Council and UN General Assembly documents under counter-terrorism articles, the Ministry said that on Monday October 29, 2012, a car bomb explosion shook a neighborhood in the town of Jarmana south of Damascus, resulting in the death of 11 citizens and injuring over 20, in addition to causing grave material damage to buildings.

The letters said that this bombing took place in a town where Syrian Muslims and Christians of various sects coexist, and that it is one of the devastating bombings that took place in Syria during Eid al-Adha holiday.

The Ministry noted that the Syrian government announced its commitment to the cessation of military operations during this holiday.

The Ministry pointed out that the failure of the UN Security Council to condemn the bombing which took place in Daf al-Shouk neighborhood has encouraged terrorists to continue committing crimes against the Syrian people. Continue reading

Syria demands UNSC, UN General Secretariat and UNHRC to condemn crimes of Terrorists

Syria demanded the UN Security Council (UNSC), UN General Secretariat and UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to expose the crimes of the armed groups, condemn them and punish these groups.

The demand came in identical letters sent by the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry to the Head of UNSC, UNSG, UNHRC Chairperson and High Commissioner of Human Rights.

The Syrian foreign ministry stressed in its letters that the armed groups and their supporters are continuing shedding the Syrian blood in contradiction with all human values and at a timing which became known being repeated before sessions held by the UNSC to discuss the situation in Syria.

The Ministry highlighted that the massacre committed by an armed terrorist group in Duma city in Damascus Countryside took place in an area where there is no presence of the Syrian Army or and where the armed terrorist groups are active. Continue reading