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UN commission downplays claim of sarin gas usage by Syrian rebels

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 00:49

Zee Media Bureau

Beirut: The United Nations Commission of Inquiry reportedly downplayed its earlier comment by official Carla Del Ponte regarding suspicions on usage of sarin gas, nerve agent, by Syrian rebel forces.

The commission stated that it has not reached upon any "conclusive findings" so far and has no evidence to claim that Syrian rebels had used sarin, as per a BBC report.

Recently, the US condemned the Syrian government forces saying that there were reports that it has used chemical weapons, and called the incident as war crime.

Also, with the escalation in the Israeli airstrike inside Syria, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced "grave concern" and called on all sides to "exercise maximum calm and restraint".

"The secretary-general expresses grave concern over reports of air strikes in Syria by the Israeli Air Force," Xinhua quoted a statement issued by Ban`s spokesman as saying.

"At this time, the United Nations does not have details of the reported incidents," the statement said. "Nor is the United Nations in a position to independently verify what has occurred," it added.

Media reports said Syria has deployed missile defence batteries towards Israel in response to the Israeli attack that targeted a Syrian army facility in the capital city of Damascus Sunday.

Syria`s state media accused Israel of trying to give a boost to the Syrian rebels. The Israeli government has so far made no official comment on the reported attack.

The UN statement added: "The secretary-general calls on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint, and to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict."
“The secretary-general urges respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions," it said.
(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 - 15:35
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