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Assad used Swiss medical exports to make chemical weapons, report claims

This picture taken on September 14, 2018 shows the Spiez Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute for NBC-Protection (nuclear, biological, chemical)his year. Spiez was analysing data related to poison gas attacks in Syria [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]
This picture taken on September 14, 2018 shows the Spiez Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute for NBC-Protection (nuclear, biological, chemical)his year. Spiez was analysing data related to poison gas attacks in Syria [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad has used chemical materials imported from Switzerland to manufacture chemical weapons in 2014, the Swiss SonntagsZeitung news site reported.

The site quoted former Syrian Brigadier-General Zaher Al-Saket as saying that five tonnes of isopropanol and 280 kilogrammes of Diethylamine "without question went into the production of chemical weapons".

Isopropanol and Diethylamine are dual-use, meaning they can be found in daily and military products. For instance, isopropanol is found in disinfectants, cleaning agents, paints, and varnishes, but is also a major component of the type of gas used in suspected chemical attacks by the Assad regime, SonntagsZeitung explained.

The news site said the chemicals imported by the Syrian Mediterranean Pharmaceutical Industries (MPI) originated in Duisburg in Germany and were sent to Basel before being shipped via the Rhine, and then by sea, to Latakia in Syria.

READ: Syria definitely committed chemical weapons attacks, UN told

The Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that MPI had used only about 20 per cent of the requested goods and the fate of the remainder is unknown.

On Sunday, the German group Brenntag, which owns the Swiss exporting company, said the "delivery of both products was carried out in accordance with existing regulations" and that the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) had cleared the company of any wrongdoing.

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Europe & RussiaGermanyMiddle EastNewsSwitzerlandSyria
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