The New York Times reports: Rockets armed with the banned chemical nerve agent sarin were used in a mass killing near Damascus on Aug. 21, United Nations chemical weapons inspectors reported Monday in the first official confirmation by nonpartisan scientific experts that such munitions had been deployed in the Syria conflict.
Although the widely awaited report did not ascribe blame for the attack, it concluded that “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”
The inspectors, who visited the Damascus suburbs that suffered the attack and left the country with large amounts of evidence on Aug. 31, said that “In particular, the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used.”
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who ordered the report, received it on Sunday and presented it to the 15-member Security Council on Monday in a closed-door session.
The 38-page report said the facts supporting that conclusion included “impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain sarin.” The facts also included sarin-contaminated areas at the sites, more than 50 interviews given by survivors and health care workers, clear signs of exposure in patients and survivors, and blood and urine samples by those patients and survivors that were “found positive for sarin and sarin signatures.” [Continue reading…]