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UN blames Assad regime for chemical attacks on Damascus suburbs

April 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

A report prepared by UN investigators said on Wednesday that the chemical weapons used in the Damascus suburbs of Khan Al-Assal and Al-Ghota last year were taken from warehouses controlled by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

Regarding the chemical attack on Al-Ghota, which took place on August 21, 2013, the report said, “The given proofs related to the nature of the material, its type and quantities prove that the perpetrators had free access to a chemical warehouse owned by the Syrian regime.” The expertise and equipment needed to deal safely with the huge amounts of chemical materials prove that it was used by Assad regime, added the UN team.

The attack on Khan Al-Assal took place a year ago on March 19. “The chemical material used was proved to have the typical characteristics of the material used in Al-Ghota,” the report confirmed.

The Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Sigrid Kaag, told reporters on Wednesday, “A third of Syria’s chemical weapons materials has been removed or destroyed.” She said that she hoped that the end of June deadline for the total destruction or removal of the regime’s chemical arsenal was still achievable.

It is estimated that 1,500 Syrian civilians were killed in Al-Ghota and dozens more were killed in Khan Al-Assal as a result of the chemical weapons attacks.