UN commission investigating use of chemical weapons in Syria, still investigating possibilities
Apr 22, Damascus: The UN commission investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria says it cannot yet say for certain where the source of the gas allegedly used in Idlib really was.
The body statted that the release of the nerve gas coincided with airstrikes in the area.n Friday that “nerve gas” was released in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month.“Between 6:40 and 7:00am on April 4, a series of airstrikes [hit] the town of Khan Shaykhun. This is a consensus. These airstrikes coincided with the release of a chemical agent, likely sarin or a sarin-like [substance],” the commission’s chair, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, told journalists during a Friday press briefing. Pinheiro was presenting preliminary results of the investigation in the chemical incident at a closed UN Security Council meeting.
However, the commission has neither been able to confirm who exactly was behind the alleged chemical attack, nor “what Air Forces were able to do that” as regards to the airstrikes.
Pinheiro admitted that the commission has not conducted any investigation on the ground, instead relying on information shared by “several countries,” sources in the rebel-held Syrian town as well as photographic and video evidence.
“We are conducting interview with eyewitnesses, medical professors, military, chemical weapons experts while simultaneously collecting and analyzing photos, videos, satellite imagery and other materials checking all of them for credibility and reliability,” Pinheiro said. “We also asked several countries to share their reports about the incident.”
As many as 100 people were allegedly killed and several hundred injured in the April 4 incident. The US has squarely laid the blame on Damascus, claiming that it hid chemical weapons stockpiles from the OPCW after pledging to hand them over in 2013. The presumption has been supported by US allies in Europe and the Middle East.
The Oslo Times International News Network