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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syrian Opposition Rejects Russian Chemical Weapons Experts

RIA Novosti

03:40 27/04/2013

DUBAI, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces spoke against Russian experts investigating a possible use of chemical weapons in the country.

Last month, the Syrian government and rebels accused each other of using chemical weapons in an incident in Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province.

According to the coalition, Russia "is the main supplier of standard and strategic weapons to the Syrian regime as well as its main political guarantor of staying in power."

"This is why Russia has no status enabling it to conduct a just and unbiased criminal investigation," the coalition said in a statement.

The White House said earlier it had physiological samples indicating that the deadly chemical agent sarin was used on two occasions in the Syrian war, which has claimed at least 70,000 lives and displaced millions in just over two years.

The Syrian opposition has claimed that Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons in two locations near Damascus on March 19, as well as in the city of Homs on December 23.

A confirmation of these reports could bring the international community closer to direct military intervention in the Syrian conflict, which is threatening to spill over the borders to neighboring countries.

A team of international experts was dispatched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Syria to investigate the incident, but it is still in Cyprus awaiting permission to enter the country as the Syrian authorities have refused to allow the experts to probe other reported instances of chemical weapons use.

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