Samples taken at the site where the chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels - not the Syrian army - behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vladimir Churkin has said.
Russia has handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added.
“I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon),” Churkin said on Tuesday.
Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin stressed.
“It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said.
More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces.
However, the UN investigation has largely become stalled after a group of Western nations insisted on launching an inquiry into a separate case of alleged chemical weapons use in Homs in December 2012. The inquiry requires access to military objects, which Damascus has been unwilling to give.