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NEW YORK: Syria’s UN envoy said Wednesday that dozens of Syrian soldiers inhaled poison gas in new incidents in his country and called on the United Nations to investigate.
Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told reporters he had asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to extend the mandate of a UN chemical weapons team now in Syria to include the “heinous” new incidents.
He said “dozens” of Syrian soldiers were being treated in hospitals after the incidents on August 22, 24 and 25 in the Damascus suburbs. Jaafari gave no other details.
The envoy spoke as the UN envoys for Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States held their first talks on a British draft UN Security Council resolution condemning a suspected chemical weapon attack near Damascus on August 21, which western nations blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
06 May 2013
Syrian rebels have made use of the deadly nerve agent sarin in their war-torn country's conflict, UN human rights investigator Carla del Ponte has said.
Secretary of State John Kerry made the case Monday. "We know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons," Kerry said. "We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses." On Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated the point, saying that "anyone who approaches this logically" would conclude that Assad is responsible.
As you might expect, Russia, which has been an unyielding Assad ally and holds veto power on the U.N. Security Council, rejected those conclusions, and the Assad regime blamed the rebels.
So, is it possible the United States and its allies are wrong? Is it possible that it was the rebels, or another group within Syria, that launched the attack near Damascus that reportedly left hundreds dead and thousands more injured?