Monday, December 24, 2012

Syrian Army has used chemical weapons, foreign-backed militants say

Foreign-backed militants in Syria (file photo)
Foreign-backed militants in Syria (file photo)
Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:8AM GMT
Militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad say the Syrian Army has used chemical weapons against them.

The militants, who are supported by certain Western states and their regional allies Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, told Al-Jazeera on Sunday that Syrian jets dropped bombs containing poison gas on Homs, killing seven and injuring dozens of people.

New video footage aired by Al-Jazeera, which is based in Doha and owned by the Qatari emir, purportedly shows victims being treated for exposure to chemical weapons at a Homs hospital. But the claim has not been confirmed by independent medical sources.

Damascus has repeatedly said it will not use chemical weapons against armed groups.

Russia has said that Syria’s chemical weapons are in a safe place and that Damascus has given Moscow assurances it will not use them under any circumstances.

On December 17, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari said in letters to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the foreign-backed militants could use chemical weapons against Syrians and try to shift the blame to the government.

Damascus is "genuinely worried" that Syria’s enemies could provide chemical weapons to armed groups "and then claim they had been used by the Syrian government," Ja’afari stated.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence.

The Syrian government also says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.

On August 1, the Syrian president said that the country is engaged in a “crucial and heroic” battle that will determine the destiny of the nation.


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