Syria chemical weapons: Assad still using chlorine gas in attacks, claims François Hollande
Sunday 20 April 2014
Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chlorine gas in a series of recent attacks in Syria, French President François Hollande has claimed.
Although Mr Hollande said he had no clear proof that chlorine weapons were used, he said Western officials have found credible evidence of the gas poisoning dozens of people in at least three locations in the country over the past week and earlier this month.
“We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof,” Mr Hollande said. “What I do know is what we have seen from this regime is the horrific methods it is capable of using and the rejection of any political transition.”
Mr Hollande’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, yesterday revealed intelligence reports on and video footage of the attacks were being scrutinised by French, British and American experts. In particular, officials are examining evidence surrounding an attack on Kafr Zita, a town near Hama. In the past week, there have also been attacks on Tamanah, in Idlib province, and Zahraa, which is close to Homs.
Mr Fabius said the attacks were “much less significant than those in Damascus a few months ago but very deadly”.
Chlorine is not a banned chemical agent because it has many industrial uses, but its use in weapons is banned under the 1925 Chemical Weapons Convention.
It was first used in war during the second Battle of Ypres in 1915 by the Germans, killing at least 30,000 British and French soldiers.
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