Russia: Report Blames Syrian Rebels for Chemical Weapons Attack

Thursday, 05 Sep 2013 03:59 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A 100-page report that Russia says it has compiled details what the country says is evidence that the Syrian rebels carried out a deadly sarin gas attack in an Aleppo suburb in March.

The document, disclosed late on Wednesday by the Russian Foreign Ministry, appeared to counter accusations that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad where behind the attack in the Khan al Asal suburb, McClatchy reports.

The foreign ministry said the report was delivered to the United Nations in July — and that it included detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians collected at the site of the alleged attack.

The investigation of the March 19 incident was conducted under strict guidelines established by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russia said. The international agency governs adherence to treaties prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, according to McClatchy.

Russia said samples that its technicians had collected had been sent to OPCW-certified laboratories in Russia.

The document itself was not released, McClatchy reports.

The foreign ministry, however, drew a pointed comparison between what it said was the scientific detail of the report and the far shorter intelligence summaries that the United States, Britain, and France have released to justify claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21.

The longest of those summaries, by the French, ran nine pages, McClatchy reports.

Further, each relies primarily on circumstantial evidence to make its case, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, and they disagree with on some details, including the number of people who died in the attack, according to McClatchy.

"The Russian report is specific," the ministry said in a statement. "It is a scientific and technical document."

No immediate comment was available from the United States, McClatchy reports.


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