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Syria's rebels are using chemical weapons too, says UN investigator

A member of a UN panel investigating alleged war crimes says it appears that the rebels are using sarin gas.

Carla Del Ponte says there is no concrete evidence that the Syrian government is using sarin - but that rebels appear to be doing so.
Carla Del Ponte says there is no concrete evidence that the Syrian government is using sarin - but that rebels appear to be doing so.
Image: THIERRY CHARLIER/AP

A UNITED NATIONS investigator into alleged war crimes in Syria has said there is evidence to show that the anti-government rebels have been using chemical weapons against government supporters.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN’s four-person panel investigating Syria, said “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas”.

Del Ponte said the suspicions had arisen “from the way the victims were treated”.

There had been previous suggestions that government forces had used sarin, a nerve agent – but Del Ponte said there was little such evidence.

The United States has previously referred to intelligence saying Syria has used the gas on at least two occasions.

However, president Barack Obama has said he needs more definitive proof before making a decision about how to respond – including whether to consider military action to stop any further use.

Damascus denies using chemical weapons – and says any evidence to the contrary is the result of the opposition trying to frame it.

Read: Israeli PM visits China after Syria strikes

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Gavan Reilly

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