Inspector: Syria Did ‘Poor’ Job of Blaming Chemical Strike on Rebels

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 30, 2014, 7:16 a.m.

A key U.N. arms in­spect­or said Syr­ia’s re­gime made “poor” links between op­pon­ents and an Au­gust chem­ic­al strike that he in­vest­ig­ated, CBRNE World re­ports.

Swedish arms ex­pert Ake Sell­strom led an in­ter­na­tion­al team that con­firmed the in­volve­ment of sar­in nerve gas in the Aug. 21 in­cid­ent, but was not au­thor­ized to as­sign blame for the as­sault against a rebel-oc­cu­pied Dam­as­cus sub­urb. The United States has charged that Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s re­gime was re­spons­ible for the at­tack, but that view has faced chal­lenges from Rus­sia and some in­de­pend­ent ex­perts.

Sell­strom, though, said As­sad of­fi­cials “have quite poor the­or­ies” for how its en­emies might have car­ried out the strike.

“They talk about smug­gling through Tur­key, labs in Ir­aq and I asked them, poin­tedly, what about your own stores, have your own stores been stripped of any­thing, have you dropped a bomb that has been claimed, bombs that can be re­covered by the op­pos­i­tion? They denied that,” he said in re­marks pub­lished on Thursday.

He ad­ded: “To me it is strange. If they really want to blame the op­pos­i­tion they should have a good story as to how they got hold of the mu­ni­tions, and they didn’t take the chance to de­liv­er that story.”