UN blames Syria forces for third chemical attack
Oct.22, Aleppo: An international inquiry has blamed Syrian government forces for a third chemical weapons attack, according to a confidential report to the United Nations Security Council.
The report, prepared by a joined committee set up by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and seen by Reuters news agency, was presented to the security council on Friday.
The UN experts behind the report said Syrian forces were responsible for a toxic gas attack in the village of Qmenas in Idlib province on March 16, 2015. The committee was unable to determine who was behind two other gas attacks - against Binnish in Idlib province in March 2015 and Kafr Zita in Hama province in April 2014.
"A joint investigative mechanism was set up by the international chemical weapons watchdog and the UN to investigate reports of chemical attacks in Syria," Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said.
The UN-led joint investigative mechanism (JIM) reported in late August that Syrian government forces had carried out at least two chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 and that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters had used mustard gas on the battlefield.
Of the nine total alleged chemical attacks it is considering in its ongoing probe, the JIM has now attributed three to the Syrian government and one to ISIL.
In its fourth report, investigators concluded that there is now "sufficient information" that attack on Qmenas, near Idlib city, "was caused by a Syrian Arab Armed Forces helicopter dropping a device from a high altitude, which hit the ground and released the toxic substance that affected the population".
Investigators say the substance may have been chlorine gas, based on the symptoms the victims displayed.
The Oslo Times International News Network