Syrian regime has 'never used chemical weapons': Minister

Syria has yet to accede to demands that UN inspectors already in the country be allowed to visit the sites.

Afp August 24, 2013
A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen on August 21, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

DAMASCUS: The Syrian regime has never used chemical weapons, the country's information minister said Saturday, rejecting opposition accusations that it had.

"We have never used chemical weapons in Syria, in any form whatsoever, be it liquid or gas," Omran al-Zohbi told a Beirut-based Arab television channel in an interview, extracts of which were broadcast on Syrian state television.

Earlier, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said 355 people had died after around 3,600 patients displaying "neurotoxic symptoms" flooded into three hospitals on Wednesday, the day of the alleged attacks.

The victims all arrived within less than three hours of each other, and MSF director of operations Bart Janssens said the pattern of events and the reported symptoms "strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent".

"Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress," he said.

There has been no independent verification of the number of dead, and the medical humanitarian organisation was the first independent source to report such a high toll.

The government has strongly denied the allegations against it, but has yet to accede to demands that UN inspectors already in the country be allowed to visit the sites.

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Sonya | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

Once again, who really benefits from these attacks? The rebel mercenaries desperately want the Syrian govt to be found guilty of using chemical weapons so that they can get military support from the US and NATO.

Inspectors were in Iraq and the result was a war to destroy Weapons of Mass Destruction that were NEVER FOUND. Why should the Syrians feel comfortable dealing with the same people that killed a million people and destroyed civilized life in Iraq.

Naya Pakistan | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

The west and their handlers Israel will destroy Syria, by means fair or foul. This is the latest in their war of deception. Why would the government use these weapons right when weapon inspectors arrive in the country, why would they use these weapons on civilians specially when they have the salfists backed rebels on the run. Illogical reasoning, and finally it is reported that some of the news agencies reported the chemical attack a day before it happened. Another version of the weapons of mass destruction and the attack on Iraq. This US President is no better than the last, he is a puppet in the hands of neo cons like John Mcain, Peter King and others shouting hoarse the Israeli agenda of destabilizing the Middle East. Aided and abetted by Saudis and other gulf colonies.

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