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United Nations accuses Syrian government in using chemical weapons in April
07 September 2017, 02:04 | Jermaine Blake
United Nations General Assembly building in New York. Image used for representational purpose
While warring parties made some progress in localised reductions of violence through de-escalation zones, the parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate unthinkable crimes against civilians in and away from the battlefield in blatant violation of global law, including forced displacement, deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of chemical weapons, a group of United Nations experts said today.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syriareports in their findings that on April 4 as part of a government aerial campaign in northern Hama, sarin gas was used, killing over 80 people.
The U.N. investigators found that 33 chemical attacks had taken place during the civil war.
An Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission confirmed in June that people in Khan Sheikhoun were exposed to Sarin on 4 April.
The UN is accusing the Syrian government in using chemical weapons earlier in April in the country's Idlib province the Washington Post reported.
Twenty seven were by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, including seven between March 1 to July 7.
Syrian activists on Wednesday said fierce fighting is under way between pro-government forces and IS militants around a garrison in Deir el-Zour, after an IS counter attack late on Tuesday involving multiple suicide bombings.
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The Assad government has denied using chemical weapons in the past and claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun attack was the result of hitting a rebel weapons cache during a routine airstrike.
That attack led US President Donald Trump to launch the first US air strikes on a Syrian air base.
Wednesday's report, the 14th by the commission since it was set up by the UN's Human Rights Council in 2011, is based on information retrieved from satellite images, video, photos, medical records, and over 300 interviews.
The following month, then US President Barack Obama says the use or even movement of such weapons would be a "red line" for his administration.
The Obama administration "guaranteed" in 2013 that "100%" of Syria's chemical weapons were removed by Russian Federation.
August 25, 2015: Syrian rebels and activists say they documented a chemical weapons attack on August 21 in the rebel stronghold of Marea in northern Aleppo, affecting dozens of people. But it has no capacity to prosecute any party, underscoring the geopolitical constraints that hamstring the world's response to the war.
But following an attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta the following year, the U.S. struck a deal brokered by Russian Federation which saw the bulk of Syria's supplies of sarin removed from the country.
- Investigators believe chemical weapons including Sarin were used around 27 times. But the media - ignoring the unprecedented withdrawal of a redline which severely damaged United States credibility - played along with the fiction and thousands of Syrian civilians died.
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