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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

British Scientists: Chemical Weapons Used in Syria

by VOA News April 13, 2013

A British newspaper reports that British military scientists have found forensic evidence that chemical weapons were used in the conflict in Syria.

The Times of London newspaper quoted unnamed defense sources Saturday as saying a soil sample smuggled out of Syria proved a chemical weapon was used. The sources could not tell if the weapon was fired by Syrian government forces or rebels.

One source disagreed with reports that have said the weapons are a riot-control agent. The source said the weapons are something else but that it is not definite they are a sarin nerve agent.

Syria's government and rebels have traded accusations about the use of chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, an activist group says a Syrian government airstrike in the northwestern province of Idlib has killed at least 18 people, including a child.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says dozens of other people were wounded in Saturday's attack in the town of Saraqeb.

Elsewhere in the province, the observatory says Syrian troops killed at least 12 rebel fighters in an assault near the village of Baboulin.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been trying to take control of Baboulin, which is near the Damascus-Aleppo highway.

A few days ago, Syria's government said it rejected a request by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to allow inspectors to investigate reports of chemical attacks in the country.

Syria's Foreign Ministry said the government is only willing to allow the inspectors into the village of Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, where the rebels were alleged to have used chemical weapons last month. It said Mr. Ban wants inspectors to deploy throughout the country. The ministry said this would be a violation of Syrian sovereignty.

More than 70,000 people have been killed since March 2011, when the uprising against the Assad government began.

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