Last Update 16:1
Tuesday, 22 October 2019

UN must probe Syria chemical attacks claim: Rights groups

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday that the descriptions its staff heard from witnesses are 'consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents'

AFP , Thursday 22 Aug 2013
Share/Bookmark
Views: 885
Share/Bookmark
Views: 885

The Syrian government must give access to UN weapons inspectors now in Damascus to the sites of alleged deadly chemical attacks near the capital, human rights organisations have said.

Separate calls by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International came after Syria's opposition accused the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of massacring more than 1,300 people on Wednesday.

The government has strongly denied the allegations.

"The Syrian authorities... should immediately facilitate the visit of the UN team to Eastern Ghouta and other locations," said Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

The team must be given "unimpeded access to all locations to investigate these and any other incidents of alleged use of chemical weapons", Sahraoui said Wednesday.

Should the allegations be true, "the attacks would amount to war crimes," she said, while renewing Amnesty's call for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday that the descriptions its staff heard from witnesses are "consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents."

"A huge number of people in Ghouta are dead, doctors and witnesses are describing horrific details that look like a chemical weapons attack and the government claims it didn't do it," said Joe Stork, HRW's acting Middle East director.

"The only way to find out what really happened in Ghouta is to let UN inspectors in," Stork added.

HRW cited two doctors describing the symptoms of patients they were treating including suffocation, muscle spasms, frothing at the mouth and pin-point pupils.

"These symptoms are consistent with nerve agent poisoning," said the organisation.

However, some specialists in the effects of chemical weapons have said video evidence was not entirely convincing.

The inspectors arrived in Damascus on Sunday with a mandate to investigate three sites for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

They are Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo, where rebels and the army blamed each other for using chemical weapons in March, as well as Ataybeh near Damascus and Homs in central Syria.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.