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Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official

Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

PHOTOS: Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed.

Damascus has recently facing growing Western accusations that its forces used such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line. But Ms. del Ponte’s remarks may serve to shift the focus of international concern.

Ms. del Ponte, who in 1999 was appointed to head the U.N. war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, has sometimes been a controversial figure. She was removed from her Rwanda post by the U.N. Security Council in 2003, but she continued as the chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav tribunal until 2008.

Ms. del Ponte, a former Swiss prosecutor and attorney general, told Swiss TV: “Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated.”

She gave no further details, the BBC said.

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was established in August 2011 to examine alleged violations of human rights in the Syrian conflict which started in March that year.

SEE ALSO: Syria to Secretary of State John Kerry: You’re lying It is due to issue its next report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June.

Rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Almokdad denied that rebels had use chemical weapons.

“In any case, we don’t have the mechanism to launch these kinds of weapons, which would need missiles that can carry chemical warheads, and we in the FSA do not possess these kind of capabilities,” Mr. Almokdad told CNN.

“More importantly, we do not aspire to have (chemical weapons) because we view our battle with the regime as a battle for the establishment of a free democratic state. … We want to build a free democratic state that recognizes and abides by all international accords and agreements — and chemical and biological warfare is something forbidden legally and internationally.”

by Why is this news buried?reply 909/05/2013

Is there another source for this besides the archconservative Washington Times?

by Why is this news buried?reply 109/05/2013

Exactly, R1. We shouldn't even be allowed to link to the Washington Times.

by Why is this news buried?reply 209/05/2013

That's from May about a different attack, She has no evidence. She has been discredited washingtontimes = false news

by Why is this news buried?reply 309/05/2013

Let's face it, our own CIA was involved...they have their fingers in every nasty situation around the world. And who do they really work for? Not the American people, they work for American corporations.

by Why is this news buried?reply 409/05/2013

Now I guess you know why this news was buried, because it is [bold]FALSE[/bold].

by Why is this news buried?reply 509/05/2013

[quote]Let's face it, our own CIA was involved...they have their fingers in every nasty situation around the world. And who do they really work for? Not the American people, they work for American corporations.

by Why is this news buried?reply 609/05/2013

Countdown to this being reported as truth by Fox News on down the chain of retards until it is accepted as fact by Uncle Cletus.

by Why is this news buried?reply 709/05/2013

It would not be surprising. Our intelligence community is not very intelligent. There's no way we will EVER know who set off the most recent nerve gas attack anymore than we know who really created the plot to kill JFK.

by Why is this news buried?reply 809/05/2013

That's the standard now, R8? "It wouldn't be surprising"?

I personally wouldn't find it "too surprising" that Oprah dropped nerve gas on Syrian children. I wouldn't substitute that opinion for reality, however, especially when lives are at stake.

by Why is this news buried?reply 909/05/2013
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