Syria 'chemical weapon' claims

Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said the country's armed forces would never use internationally banned weapons, after the government and rebels traded blame for what both sides said was a chemical weapon attack near Aleppo.

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UN to launch probe of Syria chemical weapons claims

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the United Nations will launch an investigation - as requested by the Syrian government- into allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Credit: Rainer Jensen/DPA/Press Association Images

"I have decided to conduct a United Nations investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria", Ban told reporters.

He said the investigation will look into "the specific incident brought to my attention by the Syrian government".

US: 'No evidence' of chemical weapon use in Syria

The US ambassador to Syria said there was no evidence of chemical weapons use in the conflict and added that the administration are examining the reports, according to the Associated Press.

So far, we have no evidence which substantiates the reports that chemical weapons were used yesterday. But I want to underline that we are looking very carefully at these reports.

– Robert Ford, the US ambassador to Syria

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WHO 'cannot confirm the use of chemical weapons'

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it would send medical supplies to the Syrian city of Aleppo tomorrow, but could not verify if chemical weapons or some other toxin had been used there.

"At this stage we cannot confirm the use of chemical weapons, nor what agent, if any, was used," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters in Geneva. "Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning WHO will send medical supplies (for trauma cases) to Aleppo from its prepositioned stocks in Tartous."

Use of chemical weapons 'would be outrageous crime'

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the director general of the independent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said they were deeply concerned about the alleged used of chemical weapons in Syria.

Ban's office said in a statement:

The Secretary-General remains convinced that the use of chemical weapons by any party under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime.

The OPCW is a Hague-based body charged with overseeing the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Hague: Chemical weapons 'would draw strong response'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has re-iterated that the government is looking into reports of chemical weapon use in Syria - and warned about potential repercussions.

Chemical weapons 'would push US towards intervention'

Malcolm Chalmers, research director at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), says the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “game changer”.

“If indeed there is confirmation of chemical weapon use, then we would move much closer to some sort of American military intervention,” he said.

He added: “Both the regime and the rebels have said that chemical weapons have been used…

“Both the [US] President and the Secretary of State Clinton have made it clear that such use would be unacceptable and it would lead to unspecified consequences – but it’s pretty clear those consequences would be military.”

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Foreign Office issues chemical weapon warning

The Foreign Office says it is investigating reports that a chemical weapon was fired in Syria and warned that such a move would be "universally condemned".

We’re aware of today’s press reports alleging that a chemical weapon was fired in the north of Syria and are looking into them.

The use of chemical weapons would be abhorrent and universally condemned.

The UK is clear that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons would demand a serious response from the international community and force us to revisit our approach so far.

– FCO spokesperson
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