London, Asharq Al-Awasat—Hard evidence of chemical weapon use in Syria was found after a soil sample had been smuggled out of the country in a secret British operation, the Times of London reported on Monday.
The London-based newspaper cited unnamed defense sources saying that scientists at the Ministry of Defense research establishment in the UK had found “conclusive proof” that some sort of chemical weapon had been used.
Although it is not yet certain that the chemical traces are from Sarin, a nerve agent, the tests showed that the traces of chemicals detected were from a weapon, rather than riot-control gas that is often used by the regime’s security forces and thugs at protests.
The Syrian government and opposition fighters have exchanged accusations of chemical weapon use; however, investigations have failed to specify the perpetrator’s identity in a definite way thus far.
Although intelligence agencies in the West have concluded that forces loyal to the Syrian regime have used chemical weapons, various American intelligence agencies are still skeptical about whether the chemicals include toxic material or if their effect is limited to paralyzing only.
Following a chlorine gas attack made by the rebels on a regime’s checkpoint in the suburban area of Khan El-Assal to the west of Aleppo (Halab) which resulted in 26 killed and dozens injured, many western intelligence agencies believe now that also the Syrian opposition forces have been involved chemical weapons attacks.
With more hard evidence surfacing, many commentators say the Western involvement in the conflict in Syria is a matter of time.
US president Barack Obama has repeatedly emphasized that the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people is a red-line for the US. Speaking at the Jerusalem International Convention Center last month, Obama said “We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people […] The world is watching, and we will hold you accountable.”