Britain, France: Syria Used Chemical Weapons

They want UN to launch broad investigation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2013 6:16 PM CDT
Britain, France: Syria Used Chemical Weapons
In this March 19 citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center, black smoke rises from a building in Aleppo after government shelling.   (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC)

Syria's Bashar al-Assad has indeed defied repeated US warnings not to use chemical weapons, say France and Britain. The two nations told the UN they have evidence that Syrian troops used nerve agents more than once in Aleppo, Homs, and maybe even Damascus, reports the Washington Post. Investigators drew the evidence in part from from soil samples and witness interviews.

The European nations are pushing the UN to launch a wide investigation of its own into whether Assad has used such weapons, particularly during a widely publicized incident in Aleppo in March. Syria maintains that its troops got hit with a nerve agent, though Britain and France have concluded that if so, it was a case of one of Syria's own missiles going awry. The UN is trying to organize an investigation, but the issue has stalled over how big its scope should be. Syria, with the backing of Russia, says it will allow only a narrow one that focuses solely on the Aleppo incident. (Read more Syria stories.)

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