Armed opposition likely used chemicals - Russian envoy to UN

Russian experts working in Syria have established that the chemical weapons used in the Aleppo province in March were not produced in a plant and that it is likely that armed Syrian opposition used them, Russian envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Chukin told journalists on Tuesday.

Russian experts working in Syria have established that the chemical weapons used in the Aleppo province in March were not produced in a plant and that it is likely that armed Syrian opposition used them, Russian envoy to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Tuesday.

"Results of the analysis [of chemical weapons samples] indicate that the weapons used in Khan al-Asal were not produced in a plant and contained sarin," Churkin said.

"The shell used is not typical of chemical weapons. RDX that was used as an explosive charge is usually not used in the production of standard ammunition. Therefore there are reasons to believe that armed opposition militants were the ones who used chemical weapons in Khan al-Asal," he said.

The Russian side passed the analysis results to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said.

The chemical weapon set off in Khan al-Asal could have been manufactured by insurgents from the Bashair al-Nasr Brigade fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, Churkin said.

"Our information indicates that the so-called Bashair al-Nasr Brigade linked to the Free Syrian Army started manufacturing Bashair-3 unguided projectiles in February 2013," he said.

It was reported earlier that 26 people were killed and dozens wounded after chemical weapons were used near the village of Khan al-Asal, Aleppo province in March 2013.

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