2 min read  | Damascus, Interviews, Politics

Excerpts from the UN’s chemical weapons report


September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

The UN report released this week following a fact-finding mission last month “to ascertain the facts related to the allegations of use of chemical weapons.” UN experts used a variety of 30 samples collected in the three towns of Moadamiya in West Ghouta as well as Ein Tarma and Zamalka in East Ghouta. Also woven into their narrative are interviews with survivors and other witnesses and the results of hair, urine and blood samples.

The UN team also examined the remains of rockets found to contain the chemical payloads; photographing one that had Cyrillic letters engraved on the bottom ring of the rocket’s engine.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued to cast doubts this week on whether a chemical attack even took place, telling the Fox network the day after the UN report came out that he was still waiting for evidence.

  • “The Secretary-General expresses his profound shock and regret at the conclusion that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children.
  • The facts supporting this conclusion are:

 1. Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain sarin.

2. Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by sarin.

3. Over 50 interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results.

4. A number of patients/survivors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound.

5. Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for sarin and sarin signatures.”

  •  “The conclusion is 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. 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 in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.”
  • “Information about munitions: Information gathered about the delivery systems used was essential for the investigation. Indeed, several surface-to-surface rockets capable of delivering significant chemical payloads were identified and recorded at the investigated sites. These were carefully measured, photographed and sampled. Samples later confirmed to contain sarin were recovered from a majority of the rockets or rocket fragments.
  • “The main symptoms reported by survivors included loss of consciousness (78%), shortness of breath (61%), blurred vision (42%), eye irritation/inflammation (22%), excessive salivation (22%), vomiting (22%), and convulsions/seizures (19%).
  • In spite of the fact that the clinical assessments in Moadamiyah occurred five days following the alleged incident and the assessments in Zamalka occurred seven days following the alleged incident, these signs were persistent.”

 

 

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