Posted on September 4, 2013 by

Published time: September 04, 2013 17:02
Edited time: September 04, 2013 18:01

People injured in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, breathe through oxygen masks as they are treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013 (Reuters / George Ourfalian)People injured in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, breathe through oxygen masks as they are treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013 (Reuters / George Ourfalian)

Probes from Khan al-Assal show chemicals used in the March 19 attack did not belong to standard Syrian army ammunition, and that the shell carrying the substance was similar to those made by a rebel fighter group, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.

A statement released by the ministry on Wednesday particularly drew attention to the “massive stove-piping of various information aimed at placing the responsibility for the alleged chemical weapons use in Syria on Damascus, even though the results of the UN investigation have not yet been revealed.”

By such means “the way is being paved for military action” against Damascus, the ministry pointed out.

But the samples taken at the site of the March 19 attack and analyzed by Russian experts indicate that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, the ministry statement suggests, outlining the 100-page report handed over to the UN by Russia.

The key points of the report have been given as follows:

  • the shell used in the incident “does not belong to the standard ammunition of the Syrian army and was crudely manufactured according to type and parameters of the rocket-propelled unguided missiles in the north of Syria by the so-called Bashair al-Nasr brigade”;
  • RDX, which is also known as hexogen or cyclonite, was used as the bursting charge for the shell, and it is “not used in standard chemical munitions”;
  • soil and shell samples contain “the non-industrially synthesized nerve agent sarin and diisopropylfluorophosphate,”which was “used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.”

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