Syrian UN envoy Bashar Ja'afari 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Allison Joyce)
UNITED NATIONS – Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari announced on
Tuesday that a new chemical attack had occurred in a small town near its border
Ja’afari claimed that, as the Syrian army was gaining
territory from rebel forces in the north, plastic bags filled with white powder
were distributed, resulting in symptoms associated with the effects of chemical
weapons among its residents.
“The victims were transported to Turkey to
be treated in Turkish hospitals and then, of course, today or tomorrow you will
hear again that the Turkish government has new tools indicating that the Syrian
government used chemical weapons against its own people,” Ja’afari
At an international press conference, the Syrian envoy slammed
Britain and France for citing evidence that they refuse to reveal publicly, and
criticized UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for taking their findings
“This hostile campaign is led by some parties that have made
no secret of their hostility,” he said, blaming the UK for introducing chemical
weapons to the Middle East.
He called on Ban to share with Syrian
authorities all the intelligence the UN has acquired from outside parties, and
said that interference by other countries is causing a delay in the
investigation – requested by the Syrian government – into a chemical attack in
the Syrian city of Aleppo on March 19.
Ja’afari’s comments overlapped
with speeches by US President Barack Obama in Washington and Hezbollah leader
Hassan Nasrallah, speaking from Tehran, both concerning an increasingly urgent
situation in the Syrian crisis.
At the White House, Obama clarified the
American position on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
said that “what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used in
He also updated his definition of the term “game-changer,” saying
his administration would have to reevaluate its options in its approach to the
Obama aimed to clarify his position as pressure builds on
the White House over a previously drawn “red line” regarding the use of chemical
weapons in Syria.
Nasrallah, meanwhile, warned Syria’s rebels against
attempting any attacks in Lebanese territory, and told them that they would not
be able to take Damascus by force from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s
“Syria has friends that will not allow it to fall in the hands of
the US, Israel or Takfiri groups,” Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah leader
expressed deep fears that any strike on the Sayidda Zeinab Mosque in Damascus –
a holy Shi’ite site where the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter is believed to be
buried – would inflame the region to a point of true chaos.
his UN speech, cited Iraq as a lesson for the international community to bear in
mind, as allegations continue to mount against his government.
know for sure the final conclusion, that was [that] they didn’t find anything in
Iraq,” he said, charging that the Assad government will not let inspectors “move
freely on Syrian territory” to investigate “unfounded
Explaining why the Assad government wouldn’t use such
weapons, Ja’afari adopted similar language, saying that “it’s not just a red
line – it’s a purple line. It’s a blood line.”