The United States and NATO say they are skeptical on the finding of UN human rights investigators that foreign-backed militants used chemical weapons in Syria.
“We are highly skeptical of suggestions that the opposition could have or did use chemical weapons,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.
The White House press secretary repeated Washington’s accusations that Damascus used chemical weapons.
Separately, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also tried to undermine the report, saying it’s unclear who used such weapons.
“We do not have confirmed, consolidated information as to who might have used” chemical weapons, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels on Monday.
On Sunday, UN investigators said they have found testimony from victims and medical staff that shows militants used the nerve agent sarin in Syria, which has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction in UN Resolution 687.
The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria could not find any evidence that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against militants, commission member Carla Del Ponte said.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in a television interview.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” said Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general who also served as prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The Syrian government and the foreign-sponsored militants accuse each other of using chemical weapons three times — in March once near Aleppo and second time near Damascus, and another time in Homs in December last year.
The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.