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Sarin nerve gas used in Syria: British scientists

Eighty seven people were killed in the suspected chemical attack [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 April, 2017

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British scientists concluded that sarin or a sarin-like substance was used in the chemical attack in Syria, the ambassador to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

British scientists said sarin or a sarin-like substance was used in the suspected chemical attack in Syria, the British ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday.

"Samples obtained from Khan Sheikhun", where the attack took place, have "tested positive for the nerve agent sarin or a sarin-like substance," Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the UN Security Council, pinning the blame on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

"The United Kingdom therefore shares the US assessment that it is highly likely that the regime was responsible for a sarin attack on Khan Sheikhun on the 4th of April," Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the UN Security Council.

On Tuesday, similar results were confirmed by Turkish health officials who said post-mortem tests on victims of the suspected attack concluded that the deadly sarin nerve agent had been used.

The results came from analysis of blood and urine samples of the casualties from the attack in Idlib province who were brought to Turkey for treatment - three of which died in hospital.

At least 87 people including 31 children died in the suspected attack that the West blames on Syria President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

However, Russia's Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov cast doubt on the British findings, saying he was "amazed at this conclusion."

"No one has yet visited the site," he asserted. "How do you know that?"

Russia, a key ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, has called for a thorough investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of the allegations of chemical weapons use in Khan Sheikhun.

On Wednesday, Moscow vetoed a draft UN resolution demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation into the attack after describing the measure as "unacceptable".

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