10/27/2017, 09.39
SYRIA - UN
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UN: Syrian government used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun attack

The report elaborated by a panel of experts accuses Damascus of using sarin gas. US Ambassador to the UN: "A confirmation of what we knew for a long time". No comment from Damascus and Moscow. On November 28 a new round of UN peace talks in Geneva.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian government is responsible for using chemical weapons in the deadly attack on a rebel battalion in Khan Sheikhoun, about 50km from Idlib, in Syria's northwest. The charge is contained in a report by the joint panel formed by UN experts and the Special Observatory, according to which government forces used sarin gas causing the deaths of over 90 people, including children.

So far there has been no official responses from the Syrian government and Russia.

The report, published by the Associated Press (AP), states that the commission of experts is "confident that the Arab Republic of Syria is responsible for the release of Sarin at Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017." And a further confirmation of the allegations already launched by United Nations against Damascus in recent months.

In the aftermath of the attack the US, France and Great Britain blamed the Syrian Air Force for dropping Sarin gas bombs on the town. And the United States had launched a punitive raid against  the Syrian air base in Shayat. "The report released today - commented US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley - confirms what we knew to be true for a long time."

In the past Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia, the closest ally of Damascus, repeatedly rejected the allegations of the use of sarin gas. And in recent days, Moscow vetoed the UN Security Council on the extension of chemical weapons investigations by experts in the Joint Investigation Mechanism (OPCW-UN).

The attack on Khan Sheikhoun had caused deep indignation in the international public opinion; videos and photos of the aftermath of the explosion, including agonizing children filmed by  cameras, filled the media and social networks for days.

Compiling the report the panel of experts interviewed 17 eye witnesses, also collecting material found on the site of the attack. Added to this was "substantial information" about the activities of Syrian air forces on April 4th.

The sarin gas was traced to a crater formed by a bomb explosion between 6.30 am and 7 am in an area north of the town. Experts “assessed that the crater was most probably caused by a heavy object traveling at a high velocity, such as an aerial bomb with a small explosive charge".

The UN Special Envoy in Syria, Staffan de Mistura, finally announced that a new round of Syria talks in Geneva, Syria, will be held on November 28, with the aim of ending the conflict that is has been plaguing the Middle Eastern country for about six years.

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