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Two 'abandoned' cylinders seized in Syria contained sarin: UN

Published on Jul 8, 2014 1:32 AM

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Two cylinders reportedly seized by Syrian government troops in an area controlled by armed opposition groups contained deadly sarin, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a letter to the UN Security Council published on Monday.

Mr Ban said that on June 14, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) United Nations Joint Mission overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical stockpile analysed the contents of the cylinders. "The Joint Mission confirmed that these contained sarin," said Mr Ban's letter.

The letter said the cylinders were"reportedly seized by the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic in August 2013 in an area reportedly under the control of armed opposition groups". OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said in a report attached to Mr Ban's letter that the Syrian government declared the cylinders "as abandoned chemical weapons", but neither Mr Uzumcu nor Mr Ban stated when they were handed over to the joint mission.

Mr Uzumcu said the Syrian government told the OPCW "the items did not belong to it". Mr Ban said the joint mission was discussing with the Syrian government how to destroy the cylinders and their contents. It was unclear if they had yet been destroyed.

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