U.N. testing blood, soil in alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack
The Syrian government has staunchly maintained that rebels used chemical weapons in the Tuesday attack in the northern Khan al-Asal province in Aleppo, while opposition officials allege that they are not in possession of chemical weapons or the missiles that would be required to use them, CNN reports.
Additionally, rebel leaders have said that "chemical rockets" wire fired at civilians and opposition forces by Syrian troops.
A U.S. military officer with knowledge of the preliminary intelligence analysis of the attack said that there were "strong indications" that no chemical weapon was used, according to CNN.
U.S. President Barack Obama and other American officials have also said that there is no intelligence substantiating reports that rebels used chemical weapons.
Syrian medical and military officials in Damascus, however, say that small amounts of chlorine mixed with saline were fired from a homemade rocket.
"All sources we have spoken to say there is a pattern of victims suffering a variety of respiratory complaints from mild breathing difficulty, through fainting and vomiting to loss of consciousness and death," reporter Alex Thomson wrote on his blog, CNN reports. "In most cases there were no signs of any conventional blast injuries in terms of external lacerations, burns or fractures, they say."
Chemical weapons expert Jean Pascal cast doubt on the chlorine rocket theory, saying that one rocket would not be capable of delivering the quantity needed to kill 25 people.