Independent U.N. panel says there are reasonable grounds of chemical weapons use in Syria

The U.N.'s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria issued a report on Tuesday claiming there are reasonable grounds to believe that chemical weapons were used during the Syrian conflict.

The report, which was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council, details the systematic imposition of sieges, forcible displacement and the use of chemical weapons. The report said there are reasonable grounds that chemical weapons were used in four attacks, including attacks on Khan Al-Asal, Aleppo on March 19, Uteibah, Damascus on March 19, the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in Aleppo on April 13 and Saraqib, Idlib on April 29.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe that limited quantities of toxic chemicals were used," the report said.

The panel said it was not possible on the available evidence to determine which chemical agents were used, their delivery systems or who used them. Experts would need to test samples directly from the victims or the site of the alleged attacks to make a conclusion.

"It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the panel of experts, led by Professor (Ake) Sellström and assembled under the secretary general's Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons, is granted full access to Syria," the report said.

The report covered the period between January 15 and May 15.

The authors recommended that involved parties use a diplomatic surge to stop the bloodshed. More than 70,000 Syrian civilians have died since the conflict began more than two years ago.