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Syria slams talks of chemical weapons' traces in its soil


Syrian information minister on Sunday dismissed as "illegal" a recent Western report, which cited a smuggled-out soil sample from Syria as proving the use of chemical weapons.

"Any testing process to the Syrian soil, which is not performed by official and international organizations with the consent of the Syrian government, is stripped off any political and legal value," Omran al-Zoubi said, adding that the report is "mere forgery against Syria."

Al-Zoubi said "they wanted to distort and overshadow this matter through taking the discussion to another place in a bid to cover up the crime committed in Khan al-Asal."

Meanwhile, the minister singled out Britain, Turkey and France, saying that those countries know the source of the chemical weapons, referring to their implication in rendering arms to the rebels on the ground.

On Saturday, Britain's The Times newspaper reported that a secret British operation had smuggled out a soil sample which provided the first forensic evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. British government scientists from the Defense Ministry's research facility found traces of "some kind of chemical weapon" after carrying out tests, The Times said.

The paper did not point fingers at certain party, but did not exclude the government either. The chemical weapons' frenzy came days after Damascus refused an expanded UN probe that was planned to conduct the investigation of chemical weapons' usage in several Syrian cities.

The event was triggered last month when the Syrian government accused the rebels in northern Syria of firing a chemical rocket at the town of Khan al-Asal in Aleppo province that killed more than 26 people. The rebels denied accusations and turned the finger toward the government's forces.

Syria urged the UN to send a "technical team" to investigate the specific site, but the UN later said it wanted an expanded probe which Damascus did not agree upon. Damascus considered the probe as an attempt to "infringe upon Syria's sovereignty."

Philippines News agency