25 August 2013, 01:20

Syrian rebels manufactured chemical weapons outside Damascus

Syrian rebels manufactured chemical weapons outside Damascus

The Syrian military has discovered a warehouse containing chemical agents in a suburb of Damascus. Yara Saleh, a Correspondent for the Al-Ihbariya Syrian information channel, who was among the journalists who inspected the site of the disturbing find, has given an exclusive interview to The Voice of Russia. She says that the discovered warehouse was also a laboratory where shells were loaded with poisonous chemicals.

The Syrian military found chemical weapons in a rebel tunnel in the Jobar suburb of Damascus. Later  Syrian state TV showed the poisonous agents and medical drugs.

Journalist Yara Saleh, of the Al-Ihbariya Syrian information channel, provided The Voice of Russia with more details about this discovery.

“The rebels launched two missiles filled with poisonous gas in the Jobar neighbourhood which caused Syrian soldiers’ nausea and asphyxia.

Some time later when the Syrian army managed to take that suburb by storm they found the warehouse and laboratory where shells were stored and stuffed with poisonous agents. Boxes with new gas masks were also found, they carried labels ‘Made in US’. The fact that the rebels did not use those gas masks proves that they had not been attacked with any poisonous gases.

Two glass vessels with labels ‘Made in Saudi Arabia’ were also found there. Weapons and explosives made in Saudi Arabia were found in Syria in the past as well. Experts will determine the contents of those vessels.

In addition, they found plastic vessels containing unidentified chemicals, some strange white powder and a lot of various explosives and munitions.

The Syrian government is concerned that the rebels might have more stocks of such chemical agents that they could use against civilians.”

On the 21st of August 2013 several western and Arab TV channels reported that chemical agents had been used in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar. According to the media, between 20 and 625 people died as a result of an attack with the use of shells containing the sarin nerve gas.

Representatives of the opposition claim that it was the Syrian army that used chemical weapons. A spokesman for the Syrian government has announced that this statement is a far cry from reality and is aimed at disrupting the UN experts’ work.

Russia has announced that, according to its information, on the 21st of August chemical agents were used in the suburbs of Damascus by the opposition units and not by President Bashar al-Assad’s army. Accusations against the government troops are based on unverified information.

On the 21st of August the UN Security Council held an extraordinary meeting and called for a thorough investigation of the reports about the tragedy in the suburbs of Damascus. Russia shares the view that a comprehensive investigation is indispensable. It can be carried out by the UN experts already stationed in Syria.

War chemicals found in Damascus suburb

Syrian army units combing the suburbs of a Damascus Saturday have found a cache with antidote used to treat victims of chemical weapons attacks, the Syrian state television reports.

The containers showed markings indicating that the antidote was produced by an unnamed Qatari-German firm. Earlier state television reported the discovery in the Jobar suburb of several barrels reportedly containing war chemicals allegedly made in Saudi Arabia.

The Syrian state news agency SANA insists the rebels used chemical weapons against government soldiers several of whom were rushed to a local hospital.

Syria: Soldiers find chemical agents in rebel tunnel - State TV

Syrian state television said soldiers found chemical agents in rebel tunnels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar on Saturday and said some soldiers were suffocating.

"Army heroes are entering the tunnels of the terrorists and saw chemical agents," state television quoted a "news source" as saying. "In some cases, soldiers are suffocating while entering Jobar," it said.

"Ambulances came to rescue the people who were suffocating in Jobar," it said, adding that an army unit was preparing to storm the suburb in which rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad are based.

Syrian activists accuse Assad's forces of launching a nerve gas attack in Jobar and other suburbs before dawn on Wednesday, killing hundreds.

 


Syria: 3,600 persons with neurotoxic symptoms in hospitals, 355 dead

Some 3,600 Syrians showed "neurotoxic symptoms" within the first three hours following an alleged chemical weapons attack on Wednesday, three Damascus-area hospitals reported to Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres).

Of the patients that arrived on August 21, 355 reportedly died, the charity said in a statement released Saturday.

“The medical staff gave us detailed information in relation to a large amount of patients admitted with such symptoms as cramps, contracted pupils, problems with eyesight and short breath,” Dr. Bart Janssens, the MSF director of operations, said.

Damascus officials say that the capital’s suburbs were attacked Wednesday with chemical weapons by the opposition which, in its turn, shifts the blame onto the army.

Nonetheless, MSF could not “scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms”.

“The reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events - characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers - strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent,” Janssens says in the report.

He also said that organization is unable to “establish who is responsible for the attack”.

Hospitals have been reportedly treating patients with atropine, an antidote drug used to cure nerve gas poisoning that MSF supply to the facilities.

It follows from the report that MSF will now replenish “empty stocks” and deliver additional medical supplies.

“In addition to 1,600 vials of atropine supplied over recent months, MSF has now dispatched 7,000 additional vials to facilities in the area. Treatment of neurotoxic patients is now being fully integrated into MSF’s medical strategies in all its programs in Syria,” stated Janssens.

There is 'proof' Syrian rebels used chemical weapons in conflict - Iran

Iran, the chief regional ally of Damascus, said on Saturday there is "proof" Syrian rebels used chemical weapons in their conflict with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"We are very concerned about information regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and we strongly condemn the use of such weapons," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

"There is proof terrorist groups carried out this action," Araqchi said in reference to Wednesday's allegedly deadly attacks in the Damascus area, without elaborating.Iran also warned against any Western military intervention in the 29-month conflict, after the United States suggested it was weighing up such a possibility.

Iran also warned against any Western military intervention in the 29-month conflict, after the United States suggested it was weighing up such a possibility.

UN disarmament chief arrives in Damascus to push for chemical experts' access

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane arrived in Syria on Saturday to push for access to a suspected chemical weapons attack site for UN inspectors, who are already in Syria to investigate previous accusations.

Kane arrived at the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus at midday (0900 GMT).

Angela Kane did not speak to reporters upon her arrival on Saturday in the Syrian capital.

Anti-government activists accuse President Bashar Assad’s regime of carrying out a toxic gas attack Wednesday on the eastern suburbs of Damascus and have reported death tolls ranging from 136 to 1,300.

The government calls the claims “absolutely baseless.”

The U.S., Britain, France and Russia have all urged the Assad regime and the rebels fighting to overthrow him to cooperate with the United Nations and allow U.N. experts already in Syria to look into the latest purported use of chemical agents.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, Washington Post, TASS, dpa, RT

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