Syria

British and French Governments Say Sarin Gas Has Been Used in Syria

One step closer to intervention

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The British and French governments have said that medical samples smuggled out of Syria have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, and added that they have shown the evidence to a UN investigation.

The Foreign Office confirmed that body fluids collected from victims of one or more attacks in the country were found to contain a chemical fingerprint of sarin at the Ministry of Defence's Porton Down facility in Wiltshire. In Paris, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said he had passed similar evidence to the head of the UN inquiry into chemical weapon use in Syria, Ake Sellström.

"On France's behalf, I handed him the results of the analyses carried out by our laboratory, chosen by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to identify military toxins," Fabius said. "These analyses demonstrate the presence of sarin gas in the samples in our possession. In view of this evidence, France is now certain that sarin gas has been used in Syria several times and in a localised manner. "We decided to inform the relevant UN mission of the evidence in our possession, immediately and publicly. It would be intolerable for those guilty of these crimes to enjoy impunity."