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(Reuters) - U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.

The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.

"Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated," Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.

"This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added, speaking in Italian.

Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general who also served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, gave no details as to when or where sarin may have been used.

The Geneva-based inquiry into war crimes and other human rights violations is separate from an investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria instigated by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which has since stalled.

President Bashar al-Assad's government and the rebels accuse each another of carrying out three chemical weapon attacks, one near Aleppo and another near Damascus, both in March, and another in Homs in December.

The civil war began with anti-government protests in March 2011. The conflict has now claimed an estimated 70,000 lives and forced 1.2 million Syrian refugees to flee.

The United States has said it has "varying degrees of confidence" that sarin has been used by Syria's government on its people.

President Barack Obama last year declared that the use or deployment of chemical weapons by Assad would cross a "red line".

Source: http://www.reuters.c...E94409Z20130505

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The United States has said it has "varying degrees of confidence" that sarin has been used by Syria's government on its people.

"We know the rebels did it as we've been supporting, financing, and guiding them from the start, but we've also made them fabricate the reports that blame everything on Assad."

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Can't wait to see how US officials say about this!

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zhiv, answer me this question - from whom would the rebels acquire sarin? The US has NEVER manufactured sarin (which can't be said for the Russians or Iranians) ; whether the Syrians have is not known. If the rebels HAVE used it, they had to get it somewhere, and from some organization. If they pilfered it from Syrian Army stockpiles, that is a whole different can of worms (because that would mean that the chain of custody is either partly or completely broken). Since you seem to be rather sure that the rebels have used it, how did they get it?

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zhiv, answer me this question - from whom would the rebels acquire sarin? The US has NEVER manufactured sarin (which can't be said for the Russians or Iranians) ;

Eh not strictly true. America has manufactured Sarin gas in the past except it stopped manufacturing it in 1956 and kept it's stock until the 1970s.

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zhiv, answer me this question - from whom would the rebels acquire sarin? The US has NEVER manufactured sarin (which can't be said for the Russians or Iranians) ; whether the Syrians have is not known. If the rebels HAVE used it, they had to get it somewhere, and from some organization. If they pilfered it from Syrian Army stockpiles, that is a whole different can of worms (because that would mean that the chain of custody is either partly or completely broken).

You answered your own question. The likelihood is that they acquired it from Syria army stockpiles. Another possibility would be from the other belligerents in the conflict - the US or Israel. We know that the CIA has been funding and arming the rebels and as an organisation it has a pretty shady history, though both would suffer heavily if such information ever became public (i.e. this is an unlikely possibility). Iran and Russia both support the Assad government, so neither are likely candidates. And then there's the possibility it came from Iraq, as the country has been in chaos since the US-led occupation.

The Assad government has nothing to gain from using chemical weapons, especially when it has killed vastly more people through conventional munitions. There's always the possibility it was the action of a rogue general, though it shouldn't be ruled out that it was Assad.

Chemical weapons make up such a small percentage of the casualties in the Syrian War that they are an irrelevance. They make up less than 0.01% of the casualties from the United States' use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. For Obama to be calling their use the crossing of a red line is simply ludicrous and incredibly hypocritical.

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The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has sought to distance itself from comments made by one of its members that there was evidence of the nerve gas sarin being used by rebels.

Carla Del Ponte said testimony from victims and doctors had given rise to "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof".

But the commission stressed that it had not reached any "conclusive findings".

The US said it had no information to suggest rebel fighters had used sarin.

In recent weeks, Western powers have said their own investigations have found evidence that government forces have used chemical weapons.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22428496

Background on Carla Del Ponte: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carla_Del_Ponte

Considering Del Ponte's credibility, I think she is way closer to the truth then any other foreign government out there. I also found it completely ridiculous that the US is blatantly stating that no matter what the evidence suggests, or is, they already made up their minds that its Assad's fault. Such Hypocrisy... Obama is a true disappointment.

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Regardless of where they got it from, if it is true that they have used nerve gas then it is a game changer. It'll force the outside world to step in.

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Merged threads.

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Regardless of where they got it from, if it is true that they have used nerve gas then it is a game changer. It'll force the outside world to step in.

That is, in fact, precisely my own point - sarin can't be swept under the rug, no matter who used it.

My issue is merely that it was used - not who used it. The other issue is where did it come from (again, regardless of who used it). If Syrian Army stockpiles (and Bandar Assad has indeed said that there is Sarin in those stockpiles) have been compromised, so has the chain of custody - that needs fixing regardless of who wins the civil war. If government forces have used it, then what remains ALSO needs to be secured and gotten out of temptation range - who needs a nation either partially or completely Sarinized? On this issue, President Obama is right - no matter how horrifying the idea may sound among his fellow liberals.

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The Syria Chemical Weapons Saga: The Staging of a US-NATO Sponsored Humanitarian Disaster?

Author?s Note and Update

The following article first published in December 2012 documents how the Pentagon not only provided chemical weapons to Al Nusra, an affiliated Al Qaeda terrorist organization, but also provided training to the rebels in the use of these weapons.

While Washington points its finger at president Bashar al Assad, a United Nations independent commission of inquiry has confirmed that the rebels rather than the government have chemical weapons in their possession and are using sarin nerve against the civilian population:

U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria?s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.

The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.

The Geneva-based inquiry into war crimes and other human rights violations is separate from an investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria instigated by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which has since stalled [discredited]. See ?U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator,? Chicago Tribune, May, 5 2013, emphasis added)

Ironically, when the chemical weapons pretext was first launched by the Pentagon in August 2012, the accusations were not directed against President Bashar al Assad to the effect that he was underhandedly conniving to use WMD against Syrian civilians. Quite the opposite. According to the Pentagon, the operation was to ensure that Syria?s WMDs, which allegedly had been ?left unguarded? in military bunkers around the country would not fall in the hands of opposition jihadist rebels who are fighting government forces:

Pentagon planners are more focused on protecting or destroying any Syrian stockpiles that are left unguarded and at risk [of] falling into the hands of rebel fighters or militias aligned with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah or other militant groups. ( U.S. has plans in place to secure Syria chemical arms ? latimes.com, August 22, 2012

What the Pentagon was saying in August 2012, is that these WMD could fall in the hands of the ?pro-democracy? Al Qaeda rebels recruited and financed by several of America?s close allies including Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, in liaison with Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

In a twisted logic, the Pentagon was to ensure that the rebels aligned with Al Qaeda would not acquire WMD, by actually training them in the use of chemical weapons:

The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012, emphasis added

And once these Al Qaeda rebels had been supplied and trained in the use of WMDs by military contractors hired by the Pentagon, the Syrian government would then be held responsible for using the WMD against the Syrian people.

This in turn would provide a justification for a humanitarian R2P intervention to ?protect? and come to the rescue of the Syrian people.

Believe it or not: that is the justification for waging a ?humanitarian war? on Syria.

The Syria Chemical Weapons Saga: The Staging of a US-NATO Sponsored Humanitarian Disaster?

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"We know the rebels did it as we've been supporting, financing, and guiding them from the start, but we've also made them fabricate the reports that blame everything on Assad."

i know we disagree on a few things but on this

Couldn't agree you more.

This leading from behind ie. supporting warlords wanton drone strikes are getting bit out of hand

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Doesn't matter who supplied the sarin, really. No one forced anyone to actually use it. The ones who used it are entirely to blame.

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