Syria claims sarin seizure at rebel hideout as Russia ‘blocks’ UN’s Qusair resolution

rtx106fj.siThe Syrian Army has seized two containers with poisonous sarin agent in a rebel hideout, SANA said citing sources. Meanwhile, Russia reportedly blocked the UNSC resolution set to slam Damascus’ offensive on the town of Qusair held by opposition forces.

Syrian Arab News Agency reports that sarin, together with automatic rifles, pistols and homemade bombs (IEDs) was seized in the Faraieh neighborhood of the city of Hama.

Sarin (or GB) is an extremely toxic, though colorless and odorless, substance that disrupts the nervous system, over-stimulating muscles and vital organs, if it comes into contact with skin. This potentially extremely harmful nerve agent was originally invented and manufactured to be used as a chemical weapon. According to UN Resolution 687, Sarin is classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

The threat of chemical weapons deployment in Syria has become a major international concern, with American President Barack Obama even saying previously that the use of chemical arsenal by the Syrian government would be a “red line” and might precipitate a foreign military intervention.

However, in early May an independent UN commission came to the conclusion that Syrian rebels had used sarin nerve gas, while allegations of its use by the government have not yet received any official confirmation.

On Saturday a UN Security Council (UNSC) assembly failed to adopt a British-drafted resolution on the situation in Qusair, which the Syrian Army has blockaded and is said to be eliminating a large group of opposition forces that occupied the town several weeks ago.

Rebels besieged in Qusair are pleading for military help. They claim that many civilians have been wounded in the assault of the government forces and that these people are in desperate need of medical attention.

The Syrian foreign minister says the country will allow the Red Cross into Qusair “as soon as military operations are over,” he is cited by Syrian State Television.

The UK-drafted UN statement obtained by Reuters claims that Assad’s government must “allow immediate, full and unimpeded access to impartial humanitarian actors, including UN agencies, to reach civilians trapped in Qusair.”

According to Reuters’ sources in the Security Council, Russia blocked the resolution during private discussions on Saturday, explaining that the UNSC had made no statement when the rebels came to Qusair in force and seized the town.

It is “not advisable to speak out as the UN Security Council didn’t when Qusair was taken by the opposition,” a Russia diplomat reportedly said in the UNSC.

So far Russia has officially vetoed three resolutions on Syria in the UNSC saying they were “unbalanced” targeting Assad’s government while sending weak to no message to the opposition fighters.

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