U.N. Report Confirms Chemical Weapons Were Used in Syria

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A U.N. investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria concluded “with clear and convincing evidence” that the Aug. 21 attack involved chemical weapons. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the attack a “war crime” in an opening statement to the report, released Monday to the U.N. Security Council.

The U.N. report, per the investigators’ charge, does not address who deployed the weapons, confirming only that they were used in the first place. But it fuels a new sense of urgency as the U.S. and Russia try to follow through on a diplomatic resolution despite previous U.S.-led calls for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Assad and his Russian allies have denied the charges and accused the rebels in Syria’s more-than-two-year civil war of firing the chemical weapons.

The 38-page report cites five lines of evidence for its conclusion: 1) the presence of missile remnants containing the poison gas sarin, 2) evidence of sarin contamination around the site, 3) interviews with survivors and health care workers corroborating chemical-weapons use, 4) sarin-related symptoms, ranging from seizures to vomiting, reported among survivors, and 5) blood and urine tests of survivors turned up positive for sarin.

Investigators reached the site on Aug. 26 and left the country five days later. The report also says the U.N. will continue to investigate other alleged instances of chemical-weapons use in Syria.

See the full report below: