MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that it has been confirmed that foreign-backed Syrian rebels used the chemical weapons in their fighting against the government.
“Our experts took samples on the spot and studied them in the very lab which is certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and came to the conclusion that both the shell and the sarin it contained were home-made,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“According to our additional information, these shells and the substance were made last February in the Syrian territory which at that time was under the control of the Free Syrian Army and made by one of the affiliated armed groups,” Lavrov added.
On Tuesday, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations said firsthand evidence showed that militants, and not the Syrian army, manufactured sarin nerve gas and used it during an attack near the city of Aleppo in March.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russian experts collected samples at the site of the attack in the region of Khan al-Assal, where over two dozen people, including 16 Syrian troops, died on March 19.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Damascus says the West and its regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants.
In an interview broadcast on Turkish television in April, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that if the militants take power in Syria, they could destabilize the entire Middle East region for decades.
“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he stated.