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U.S.: UN Report Bolsters Argument that Assad Used Chemicals

Susan Rice: UN report reinforces our assessment that the Syrian regime was behind the chemical attack.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/17/2013, 4:13 AM

Susan Rice
Susan Rice
AFP photo

The White House said on Monday that a UN report that confirmed the use of chemical weapons in an August 21 attack in Syria bolstered the U.S. argument that the Syrian government was responsible.

President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, said in a statement quoted by Reuters that the technical evidence in the UN report, including that the sarin nerve agent was high-quality and that a particular rocket was used in the attack, was significant.

The conclusion, she said, "reinforces our assessment that these attacks were carried out by the Syrian regime, as only they had the capability to mount an attack in this manner."

The report, submitted by UN investigator Ake Sellstrom to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon earlier Monday, noted that “environmental, chemical and medical samples” collected at the scene of the attack “provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve gas sarin were used” in the assault in the Ghouta area.

 “The conclusion is that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the report stated. It did not say who was responsible for the attack, as that was not part of the investigators’ mandate.

Ambassadors to the United Nations who saw the report said that it proves there is no doubt that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime is behind the chemical attack.