UN chemical weapons report on Syria

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Kerry and allies
US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) pauses with British Foreign Secretary William Hague (left) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (middle) on Monday, before holding a meeting to discuss Syria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.

The US, UK, and France believe that the UN report on chemical weapons used in Damascus, Syria confirms their suspicions that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was responsible. Russia, who helped broker a deal with the US on disarming Syria, still says that it’s possible the rebels were responsible instead. As far as the actual contents of the UN report, it did not specify who was to blame for the attack. UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon offered a middle ground, as he thinks “we may all have our own thoughts.”

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is more firm in his opinion. “From the wealth of technical detail in the report – including on the scale of the attack, the consistency of sample test results from separate laboratories, witness statements, and information on the munitions used and their trajectories – it is abundantly clear that the Syrian regime is the only party that could have been responsible.” US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, echoed the UK’s view, expressing, “The technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stood strong with his allies, offering, “When you look at the findings carefully, the quantities of toxic gas used, the complexity of the mixes, the nature, and the trajectory of the carriers, it leaves absolutely no doubt as to the origin of the attack.”

Basically, the attack was so powerful and devastating, that the US and its allies say only the Syrian government had the resources to pull off such an attack. However, Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, cautions, “I think some colleagues jumped to their conclusions when they were saying that the report definitively proves that it was the government forces that used chemical weapons.” He underlines the uncertainty surrounding who was responsible, pointing out, “Allegations that in fact it was the opposition who used chemical weapons cannot be simply shrugged off.”

Images courtesy of US Department of State on Flickr.