Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas, says UN Investigator

Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas, says UN Investigator

SUMBER: Crescent Online

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May, 2013

Rebels in their desperation want to draw the US and its allies into attacking Syria directly, confident that the western media would not expose their crimes.

Geneva, Crescent-online
May 06, 2013, 08:05 EDT

United Nations human rights investigators gathering testimony from victims of alleged chemical weapons and sarin gas in Syria have said their information indicates that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin. One of the lead investigators Carla Del Ponte said this in a television interview on Sunday, that was also carried by Reuters news agency.

The UN independent commission member asaid they had not yet seen any evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons. “Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television. The BBC World Service also reproduced that interview today. 

“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian. Del Ponte, former Swiss Attorney General also served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The Geneva-based inquiry into war crimes and other human rights violations is separate from an investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The US, Britain and France have at various times alleged that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons and sarin gas, an allegation strongly denied by Damascus. Instead the Syrian government has called for an independent inquiry into such allegations. The UN independent commission’s statement corroborates what the Syrian government has been saying. Addressing a press conference in New York on May 2, Syria’s UN ambassador Dr Bashar al-Jaafari dismissed British-French allegations against his government saying if they had any proof of the use of chemical or biological weapons, they should present it to the UN Secretary General as well as to the Syrian government. They have not done so, he insisted. Instead they have been making allegations through the media.

Allegations about the use of chemical weapons first surfaced in Homs last December. These were followed by other allegations of use near Aleppo as well as near Damascus, both in March. The Syrian government strongly denied it was involved in any such attacks saying its forces were winning the war and had no need to use such weapons. Also Syrian government spokesmen have repeatedly stressed that they will not use such weapons against their own people. If their country were subjected to a direct military attack from abroad, then that would be a different matter.

US President Barack Obama declared last year that the use or deployment of chemical weapons by Asad would cross a “red line” implying that the US would get directly involved militarily. It would appear that the rebels in their desperation want to draw the US and its allies into attacking Syria directly, confident that the western media would not expose their crimes.

Del Ponte’s statement provides proof. Even though she has said categorically that the UN inquiry commission has found no evidence of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons or sarin gas and that the commission found strong evidence of the rebels using it, Peter Dobbin of the BBC tried to rubbish this by saying that she did not have “incontrovertible evidence.” One can imagine the reaction of the western media reaction if Del Ponte had said evidence pointed to Syrian government use of the banned weapons. The BBC and every other media outlet would be screaming demanding strong military action as well as putting Asad on trial for war crimes. When the perpetrators are western-backed rebels, the story is dealt with differently.

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