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Russia to U.N.: Chemical weapons 'clearly' used in Syria

By CNN Staff
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russia's U.N. ambassador says evidence shows sarin was used in Syria
  • "Every reason to believe" it was the rebels, he says
  • Syria's government and rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons
  • Last month, the White House said Syria crossed a "red line" with use of chemical weapons

(CNN) -- A team of Russian experts has found that chemical weapons were "clearly" used in Syria, Moscow's U.N. ambassador said Tuesday.

"There is every reason to believe that it was armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal," Vitaly Churkin said.

The experts visited Khan al-Assal, where Syria claimed rebels had used chemical weapons in a March attack. At the time, rebels accused Syria of using chemical weapons in another part of the country.

Assad supporters deny weapons charges
Syrian refugees board a boat bound for Turkey at a port in Kyrenia, Cyprus, on Sunday, November 23. Some 220 Syrian migrants crammed onto a fishing boat were rescued by a cruise ship off Cyprus' northern coast after their vessel hit rough seas in the Mediterranean Sea, authorities said. Syrian refugees board a boat bound for Turkey at a port in Kyrenia, Cyprus, on Sunday, November 23. Some 220 Syrian migrants crammed onto a fishing boat were rescued by a cruise ship off Cyprus' northern coast after their vessel hit rough seas in the Mediterranean Sea, authorities said.
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Both sides denied the claims.

"The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin," Churckin said Tuesday.

In April, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the "United States has evidence that the chemical weapon sarin has been used in Syria on a small scale."

Last month, the White House accused Syria of crossing a "red line" with its use of chemical weapons against its people.

Throughout the crisis in Syria, Russia has been at odds with the United States and many other countries calling for tough action against the Syrian regime.

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