The United Nations has released its full report detailing an “unequivocal and objective” determination that chemical weapons were used in an Aug. 21 attack that killed hundreds of people in and around the capital of Damascus.
U.N. inspectors determined that chemical weapons were used, and that 85% of blood samples tested positive for sarin gas. It was not part of the inspectors’ job to determine who was responsible for the attack.
Sarin is a nerve toxin whose fatality typically comes from cardiac arrest or suffocation, as overstimulated muscles around the heart and lungs eventually seize and stop working altogether. Just one drop can be fatal. The U.S. previously said that sarin gas was used in the attacks.
“This is a war crime and a grave violation of the 1925 Protocol and other rules of customary international law,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement on Monday.
“I trust all can join me in condemning this despicable crime. The international community has a responsibility to hold the perpetrators accountable and to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.”
Ban added that it is the “most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988.”
Here are some of the key points from the report:
- Inspectors collected primary statements from more than 50 survivors who were exposed.
- 30 environmental samples were collected during the investigation. A “majority” of them tested positive for sarin.
- Blood, urine, and hair samples were drawn from 34 of 36 patients provided who were experiencing symptoms commonly associated with sarin exposure. The inspectors determined that “almost all” of those examined tested positive for sarin exposure.
- Ban said that 85% of blood samples tested positive for sarin.
Here’s a chart, from the report, detailing the range of symptoms reported and how often they were reported:
You can check out the full report below:
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