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UN Report Blames Syrian Regime For Third Chemical Attack

A Syrian man reported to be a victim of a chemical attack in Idlib province.
A Syrian man reported to be a victim of a chemical attack in Idlib province.

A United Nations inquiry has found Syrian government forces responsible for a third toxic gas attack.

A report of the attack was submitted by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to the UN Security Council on October 21. It sets the stage for a showdown between Russia and western powers over how to respond to the meticulously documented chemical weapons incident.

The report blamed Syrian government forces for an attack using toxic gas, probably chlorine, in Qmenas in Idlib governorate on March 16, 2015. The UN in August identified the Syrian regime as responsible for two other chlorine gas attacks in its own country.

The report is expected to prompt a showdown in the Security Council pitting Russia and possibly China against the United States, Britain, and France, which are expected to press for censure of the perpetrators.

After Syria was fingered in the earlier two chemical attacks, Russia blocked any action, saying the UN's conclusions could not be used to impose sanctions.

The latest UN report provided extensive detail on the attacks, saying the Syrian government used helicopters to drop barrel bombs, which then released chlorine gas. It even identified the bases where the helicopters took off.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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