Syrian Rebels Use Chemical Weapons, NATO Mulls Increasing Support for Them

Accusations have emerged suggesting that rebels in Syria may have used chemical weapons to attack an army position in Aleppo province.

Syrian state media has reported that ”terrorists fired rockets  containing chemical materials on Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province.” Television  reports showed ambulances carrying to wounded to a hospital in Aleppo city,  along with both medical officials and local residents claiming that the attack  had involved a “toxic gas”. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad,  31 people had been killed in the attack. State media reports also suggested that  around 100 people were injured.

The Russian foreign ministry appeared to confirm the reports, saying that it  had “information” to suggest that Free Syrian Army rebels had used chemical  weapons. Russia, which has been a key backer of President Assad’s government in  Syria, also expressed  concern that rebel control of chemical weapons “complicates further the  situation in Syria.”

Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Muqdad denied the accusations, and suggested  that it was government forces who had deployed chemical weapons. “We have  neither long-range missiles nor chemical weapons. And if we did, we wouldn’t use  them against a rebel target,” he said, “We understand the army targeted Khan  al-Assal using a long-range missile, and our initial information says it may  have contained chemical weapons.”

Other reports, however, suggest that it was a government position which was  hit. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that a ground-to-ground  missile hit an army position in Khan al Assal, killing 16 soldiers and 10  civilians, but could not confirm whether or not chemical weapons had been  involved….



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