A United Nations report released Monday confirmed that poison gas was used against Syrian civilians in a deadly attack last month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of villagers in 1988.
Ban said U.N. inspectors had found “overwhelming and indisputable” evidence that surface-to-surface rockets carrying the banned nerve agent sarin were fired into the Ghouta suburb of Damascus on Aug. 21, according to the report presented to the U.N. Security Council. Assigning culpability for the attack wasn’t part of the team’s mandate, but experts say the findings point to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces based on the munitions used and the sophistication and range of the delivery system.
“Any way you cut it, this has been a bad day for Bashar Assad,” said Brian Finlay, a chemical weapons specialist who’s the managing director of the Stimson Center, a Washington-based global security research center. “The report suggests he either A, ordered chemical weapons use, or B, lost control of his military and they used it.”
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