UN collects evidence to test for chemical weapons


August 29, 2013

GATHERING DATA: The UN Chemical Weapons Team takes samples during their visit to Eastern Ghouta that will be analyzed to determine whether chemical weapons were used there on August 21st.

‘‘The inspectors entered Zamalka at 10:00am and took samples in addition to interviewing people still under the influence of the chemical gases,” Abu Abbas, a member of the pro-revolution media office in the Qaboun neighborhood of Damascus, told Syria Direct on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that the mission would complete its work on Friday and leave the country on Saturday. The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition’s political leadership in exile, called on the UN team to complete the necessary tests and promptly release results. The Coalition also released a timeline of its own based on data it has gathered about the attacks. Here, an excerpt from the report, available online here:

“August 10:

A source within the regime’s armed forces told the Syrian Coalition that a missile

convoy arrived at a military compound in Qutayfa, a town situated in the Qalamoun mountains,

northeast of Damascus. The source claimed the convoy was carrying locally made versions of the

Iranian “Zilzal” and Egyptian “Saqr 15” missiles, which are capable of carrying chemical weapon

payloads. The missiles were manufactured at the Syrian Scientific Research Centre in nearby

Jamraya.

August 18:

Personnel at the compound in Qutayfa began the process of transporting the missiles

to launching platforms and preparing them for use. The missiles had been modified and as a result

more closely resembled their Iranian counterparts.

August 20:

At the end of the night, following five air raids on these areas, warplanes suddenly

ceased their flights. Only helicopters remained in the air, maintaining their positions until the

chemical attacks started.

August 21

At 02:31, soldiers of 155 Brigade belonging to Assad’s regime began launching missiles in a

southward direction.”

“Here is where the missiles fell,” says the person filming the video as investigators gather samples from the site, with Free Army soldiers visible in the frame.

Earlier this week, investigators first attempted to visit the sites in Eastern Ghouta allegedly hit the site of a chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 1,600 people, but an unidentified sniper fired on their convoy, forcing them to return to Damascus.

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