UNITED NATIONS, August 31. /TASS/. A report on investigating chemical attacks in Syria, which places responsibility for two such incidents on Damascus, lacks evidence and is based on eyewitness testimony provided by terrorists, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, has said.
"The conclusions contained in the report were totally based on statements made by witnesses presented by the terrorist armed groups or their incubator environment. Therefore, these conclusions lack any physical evidence whether by samples or attested medical reports that chlorine was used," he said. According to Jaafari, these facts indicate that the findings in the report prepared by the OPCW-UN joint mission "cannot be considered corroborating proof."
Jaafari pointed to the need to continue studying the incidents mentioned in the report until hard evidence is obtained. He emphasized that Damascus, for its part, will continue to work in this direction doing its utmost to establish the truth. He added that it is necessary to learn the truth without politicizing these incidents or manipulating them for political purposes.
The report on the investigation conducted by the UN and OPCW experts was submitted to the UN Security Council on August 24. They investigated the cases of the use of chemical agents in Syria from December 2015 to August 2016. The investigators were able to make conclusions on those responsible for the chemical attacks only in three cases.
The OPCW-UN specialists claim that they have sufficient information confirming the complicity of Syrian government forces in the chemical attacks in the province of Idlib. The conclusions are based, among other things, on the evidence of eye-witnesses and a forensic expert study. Thus, according to the specialists, the remainder of a shell found at the place of the attack in Sarmin corresponds to the design of a barrel bomb - a weapon used by the Syrian aviation.
Syria agreed in September 2013 to place its chemical weapons at the disposal of the international community for their subsequent elimination as part of a deal concluded between Moscow and Washington. The deal was preceded by a gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus, which killed from 280 to 1,700 people, according to various data. The agreement on Syria’s chemical disarmament was sealed by UN Security Council Resolution 2118 passed on September 27, 2013. The UN Security Council warned in this resolution that in case of the use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, it might take measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which admits of the possibility of imposing sanctions and using military force.