United Nations finds Assad forces behind deadly April sarin attack

A Syrian doctor treating a boy following a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun northern Idlib province Syria from video provided

The Syrian government and its Russian backers had insisted that the Khan Sheikhoun attack was the fault of opposition forces in the area, or that it was entirely fabricated. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed in the town of Khan Sheikhun, in Idlib province, had died from the effects of the gas, adding that dozens more suffered respiratory problems and other symptoms.

The panel also said USA air strikes on a mosque in Al-Jina in rural Aleppo in March that killed 38 people, including children, failed to take precautions in violation of global law, but did not constitute a war crime. Investigators have so far been able to pinpoint who was responsible for the six remaining attacks which all occurred earlier in the conflict.

The UN officially accuses Assad's government of use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun in April.

The investigators also appealed to the USA -led coalition to better protect civilians as it strikes at Islamic State militants in the east.

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Despite reduced violence in some places in Syria, warring parties continued to perpetrate unthinkable crimes against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons by Government forces, a group of United Nations investigators said on Wednesday as they released a new report.

October 21, 2016: The UN-led Joint Investigative Mechanism says that of nine alleged chemical attacks it is examining, three can be attributed to the Syrian government and one to ISIS jihadists.

Although, at times, witnesses told the commission that fighters were injured or killed in chemical weapons attacks, the report notes that "the use of chemical weapons is prohibited in all circumstances, including when a military objective is present".

Speaking in Geneva, the chair of the commission Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said most incidents which civilians are killed and maimed involve the unlawful use of conventional weapons, such as cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.

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Investigators were not granted access to Syria and based their report on photos of bomb remnants, satellite imagery and witness accounts.

The report also claimed that a medical facility in the town was targeted by Syrian or Russian planes armed with rockets four and half hours after the gas attack, as civilians wounded in the incident sought medical treatment.

August 21, 2013: Hundreds of people are killed in the east and southwest of Damascus, including in Moadamiyet al-Sham, in chemical weapons strikes after Syrian troops launch an offensive in the area.

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