Chemical weapons have been used widely across Syria during its conflict and there is irrefutable evidence that the chemical agent sarin killed hundreds in one key attack, UN inspectors said Monday.
"The conclusion is that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic ... against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale," says the report to be released by UN leader Ban Ki-moon, Agence France Presse reported. The UN report, compiled last month, said there was "clear and convincing" evidence of the use of sarin gas in an attack near Damascus last month. According to US estimates, 1,400 people died in the attack. The report added that "surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used" in the August 21 attack, AFP reported. This information was included in the first page of the report, which was inadvertently leaked to the press when it was included in an official picture of head UN investigator Ake handing the report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban is due to present the full report to the UN Security Council later on Monday .
The United States, Britain and France blame Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces for the chemical attac k, which occurred east of Damascus on August 21. The government, backed by Russia, categorically denies the charge and blames opposition rebels.