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Omitted Details from UN Report Implicate Syria, Iran in Use of Chemical Weapons

Details removed from a United Nations report that had been released earlier this week implicate Syria and Iran for a series of chemical weapons attacks in January and February, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

A UN commission investigating war crimes during the seven-year-old Syrian civil war uncovered evidence of chemical attacks perpetrated by the regime.

The specifics of a number of these attacks, however, were omitted from the final report that was released. They were summarized at the end of the report.

One of the investigators asserted that the omitted details needed further corroboration and could be included in a future report. He also said that there was no pressure to leave the details out.

The leaked draft documented “in meticulous detail,” according to the Times, six chemical weapons attacks between January and April 7 of this year.

In attacks that occurred on January 22 and February 7, the commission found that the deadly chemicals were delivered on “industrially produced Iranian artillery rockets,” which are “only known to have been used by Government forces, and rarely, affiliated militias.”

The attacks on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta followed a pattern previously reported of chemical weapons use by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. None of the attacks appeared to have been committed by other armed groups.

The presence of Iranian weapons in the Syrian conflict are an indication that Iran is violating United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which implemented the 2015 nuclear deal, and had provisions extending the ban on Iran exporting arms until at least 2020.

In January of this year, a UN panel found that Iran was violating the export ban by sending weapons, including ballistic missiles, to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

In one documented attack, a shell struck an apartment building near the last functioning hospital in the Douma section of Ghouta on April 7. According to the report:

“Statements and material evidence received and analysed by the Commission in relation to the deceased within the apartment building revealed an array of symptoms consistent with exposure to a choking agent, including signs of foaming at the mouth and nose, blue skin indicating impaired blood circulation, meiosis (constriction of the pupils), as well as some cases of dilated (wide open) pupils. Numerous victims unable to flee the building collapsed shortly after exposure.”

Forty-nine people, including 11 children, were killed in the attack. While the report observed that the attack had signs consistent with the use of chlorine, ” the symptoms displayed by the victims were consistent with “another chemical agent, most likely a nerve gas.”

[Photo: NBC News / YouTube ]