Syria said that a chemical attack that killed hundreds of civilians in August 2013 was orchestrated by French intelligence agencies.
Appearing during a heated session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari hit out at several members of the US-led coalition.
Bashar JaafariDiscussing the sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on 21 August 2013, he inferred the atrocity was part of a plot to divert UN weapons inspectors from another incident blamed on rebels.
“The use of chemical weapons in the Damascus area was meant to prevent from Dr Åke Sellström from going to Aleppo because [France] knew who had used chemical weapons in Aleppo,” al-Jaafari said.
“They wanted to prevent Dr Sellström from reaching Aleppo by any means and therefore they used chemical weapons in Damascus with the involvement of French intelligence.”
For his part, France’s representative to the Security Council, François Delattre, described the allegations as “absurd”.
“I’m not going to revisit all the derisory and grotesque things voiced by the representative of Syria,” he said.
On August 21, 2013, hundreds of people were killed in a Sarin gas attack in Ghouta, a massacre that UN inspectors call “the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them” in Halabja in 1988.
Syrian opposition groups and their western allies claim the nerve gas attacks were launched by the Syrian government. Damascus rejects the allegation, saying the attack was carried out by militants operating inside the country to draw in foreign intervention. Subsequent investigations by the UN and Russia backed Syria’s assertions.