Syria hands materials to Russia regarding chemical weapons

Syria has turned over materials to Russia which aim to show a chemical weapons attack last month was carried out by rebels, a top Russian diplomat visiting Damascus and a Syrian official said yesterday.

The August 21 attack precipitated the current high tensions over Syria’s chemical weapons and sparked a plan under which it is to abandon them. A report by UN investigators confirmed chemical weapons were used on August 21 but did not say by which side in the civil war.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Syria told Russian officials the material it handed over shows “rebels participating in the chemical attack” but that Russia has not yet drawn any conclusions.

He added that Russia has submitted to the UN Security Council abundant and credible evidence suggesting it was not the government that fired the chemical weapons.

“We are unhappy about this report, we think that the report was distorted, it was one-sided, the basis of information upon which it was built is insufficient,” he said, referring to the UN report.

Also, Syrian President Bashar Assad yesterday received a US delegation of former members of Congress and anti-war activists including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

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