Russia’s permanent UN representative has called for the “immediate return” of the world body’s inspectors to Syria to conduct additional investigations into last month’s use of chemical weapons in the country.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the UN inspection mission should also investigate “the incident on March 19 near Aleppo as well as incidents of intoxication of Syrian government troops on August 22 and 24-25.”
“We hope that the full implementation of the mandate of by [Swedish professor Ake] Sellstrom’s mission will give an objective picture of the events in Syria,” Churkin added.
The development comes as UN inspectors reported on Monday that they had found “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used in an August 21 attack that killed hundreds of people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
The UN inspectors, meanwhile, had no mandate to determine who had perpetrated the chemical attack, although the US and some of its Western allies continue to insist that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the incident.
Damascus and Moscow, however, have described the chemical attack as an act of provocation by foreign-backed opposition militants in Syria in a bid to prompt a US-led military action against the Arab country.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.