Moscow: Samples Taken in Syria's Aleppo Prove Armed Groups Used Chlorine Gas

MOSCOW- The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday that samples taken in al-Nairan area in Syria's city of Aleppo prove that militants used chlorine gas in their attacks.

"Samples taken by Russian officers of the Scientific Center of Radiational, Chemical and Biological Security at the site proved that militants [in Aleppo] used chlorine as a poisonous gas," ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, Sputnik reported.

 According to Konashenkov, militants in Aleppo have started to use chlorine against Syrian servicemen and civilians more often. However, none of French or British politicians who publicly voice concern over the situation in Aleppo pay attention to such crimes.

  "Precisely, they want to see only Syrian authorities as those responsible for it [chemical weapons' use]," he said.

The Syrian News Agency (SANA) reported on Sunday citing the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces as announcing that terrorist groups located in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo targeted on Sunday afternoon al-Nairab area and its surroundings with mortar shells containing chlorine, causing scores of injuries among civilians and military personnel.

The terrorist attack was a response to the achievements made by the Army and Armed Forces south and west of Aleppo, to the heavy losses suffered by terrorists, and to the failure of all attempts to break the encirclement of terrorists in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, the army General Command said.

Konashenkov went on to say that the Sunday's attack was the third chemical attack by terrorists in Aleppo in the past two weeks. He pointed out that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts should investigate chemical weapons' use in Aleppo, according to Sputnik.

On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian military experts had found evidence that militants in the Syrian city of Aleppo had used chemical weapons, likely chlorine and white phosphorus. The ministry added that it samples of soil and shell fragments found in Aleppo to the OPCW.

Despite numerous reports of militants' use of chemical weapons, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) expert panel recently released the fourth report, which, in particular, claimed that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the OPCW decision.

Chlorine is a gas of yellow-green color with a strong smell that is 2.5 times heavier than air. Chlorine gas is dangerous for human health.

H.M