Turkey steps up chemical weapons tests on Syria casualties

By REUTERS
May 9, 2013 19:39

ANKARA - Turkey is stepping up chemical weapons tests on casualties arriving from Syria's civil war to help ensure the perpetrators of any such attacks are held accountable, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday.

The United States has said it views any use of chemical weapons in Syria as a "red line", hinting this could lead to some form of foreign intervention. But chastened by the false intelligence that was used to justify the 2003 war in Iraq, Washington says it wants proof before taking any action.

Turkey confirmed last week that it had begun testing blood samples taken from Syrian casualties brought over the border for treatment to determine whether they were victims of a chemical weapons attack.

Some Turkish newspapers said the forensic institute carrying out the tests had found traces of ricin, a highly toxic substance which can be used as a chemical warfare agent. But Davutoglu said it was too soon to draw conclusions.

"Examinations are continuing. When the final result is out, whatever that is, we will share this with the public and inform the relevant international institutions," he told a news conference in Ankara.


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