UN Investigator Claims Evidence Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

By:  Jack Kenny
05/06/2013
       
UN Investigator Claims Evidence Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Though the Obama administration has indicated it believes Syria used chemical weapons, the UN says the rebels likely were to blame. 

The "varying degrees of confidence" the Obama administration has claimed for intelligence reports of chemical weapons use by government forces in Syria may become more varied and less confident if evidence cited by a United Nations investigator is substantiated. Reuters reported from Geneva on Sunday that one member of a UN team looking into human rights violations in Syria's two-year-old civil war said the evidence pointed to use of sarin gas by the rebel forces.

Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general and a member of the UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria, said in a Swiss-Italian television interview that the commission's investigations produced "strong, concrete suspicions" about the origin of the nerve-gas attack.

"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. "This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added.

Del Ponte, who served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, gave no details as to when or where sarin may have been use, Reuters reported. The Geneva-based inquiry into war crimes and human rights violations is separate from the investigation authorized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon into allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria.

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