United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
said Fridaythat a U.N. report due out Monday will be “overwhelming” and confirm that chemical weapons were used during an Aug. 21 attack.
“I believe that the report will be an overwhelming, overwhelming report that chemical weapons [were] used even though I cannot publicly say at this time before I receive this report,” Ban said at a U.N. meeting, according to Reuters.
He did not specify whether the report will finger the Assad regime for use of the chemical weapons in the attack, which occurred in the suburbs of Damascus.
The U.N. chief added, though, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “has committed many crimes against humanity.” He apparently did not realise he was being recorded.
On Wednesday, Foreign Policy reported that the U.N. report “will provide a strong circumstantial case — based on an examination of spent rocket casings, ammunition, and laboratory tests of soil, blood, and urine samples — that points strongly in the direction of Syrian government culpability.”
Syrian weapons expert Eliot Higgins, who has published several detailed analyses of the rockets, notes that the same munitions are linked to at least one previous chemical attack — and that the evidence points toward “the government being responsible for the use of these munitions.”
“If the UN report confirms these are chemical munitions, then it seems almost certain the government were responsible for firing them,” Higgins writes.
Ban’s comments come as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets for the second day in Geneva, Switzerland, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to iron out a potential diplomatic solution. But several major obstacles remain in the way of a diplomatic path.
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