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Inspector: Syria Did 'Poor' Job of Blaming Chemical Strike on Rebels

Syrian opposition fighters prepare a homemade rocket launcher during Monday clashes with government forces on the outskirts of Aleppo. An international weapons inspector said Syria's regime has made only "poor" arguments tying its opponents to an August chemical strike that he investigated. Syrian opposition fighters prepare a homemade rocket launcher during Monday clashes with government forces on the outskirts of Aleppo. An international weapons inspector said Syria's regime has made only "poor" arguments tying its opponents to an August chemical strike that he investigated. (Zein al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images)

A key U.N. arms inspector said Syria's regime made "poor" links between opponents and an August chemical strike that he investigated, CBRNE World reports.

Swedish arms expert Ake Sellstrom led an international team that confirmed the involvement of sarin nerve gas in the Aug. 21 incident, but was not authorized to assign blame for the assault against a rebel-occupied Damascus suburb. The United States has charged that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for the attack, but that view has faced challenges from Russia and some independent experts.

Sellstrom, though, said Assad officials "have quite poor theories" for how its enemies might have carried out the strike.

"They talk about smuggling through Turkey, labs in Iraq and I asked them, pointedly, what about your own stores, have your own stores been stripped of anything, have you dropped a bomb that has been claimed, bombs that can be recovered by the opposition? They denied that," he said in remarks published on Thursday.

He added: "To me it is strange. If they really want to blame the opposition they should have a good story as to how they got hold of the munitions, and they didn't take the chance to deliver that story."

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