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Russia asks for Syrian chemical weapon probe
March 21, 2013, 9:07 am


Both sides deny using chemical weapons [AP]

Russia has urged the United Nations (UN) to respond to Syria’s request to look into allegations of the use of chemical weapons during fighting between rebels and government forces, says a senior foreign ministry official.

“We expect that the UN secretary general will promptly react to Syria’s request to investigate the use of chemical weapons on March 19,” Gennady Gatilov, deputy foreign minister, wrote on his Twitter account.

Syria’s government and rebels have demanded an international inquiry into a deadly attack which both sides cite as an evidence that the other has used chemical weapons.

“It is important to form a neutral and professional team of experts who can present unbiased conclusions,” wrote Gatilov, Russia’s point man on the Middle East.

On Tuesday, the Syrian government and opposition rebels traded accusations of the use of chemical weapons in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.

At least 25 people died and 110 more were seriously injured according to reports by Syrian state media.

Rebel forces have, however, denied using chemical weapons.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN, said on Wednesday that he had asked Ban Ki Moon, the UN chief, to approve an investigation into the reports.

“The Syrian government, if it has such weapons, will never use it against its own population,” Jaafari said.

US President Barack Obama said earlier this week that any use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces would be a “game changer” in the two-year civil war.

Russia has opposed the stated positions of France and the UK on pushing for the EU ban to be eased to allow the flow of arms to Syrian rebels.

Source: Agencies