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Israeli raid in Syria increases tension in the entire area

· UN sources warn of strong evidence for rebel use of chemical weapons ·

Another Israeli air strike on Syrian territory yesterday has sharply rekindled tension throughout the region. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal al Medad, spoke of how the act  amounts to a declaration of war. In addition to the Arab League, governments of other countries in the area, such as Iran and Egypt, have expressed disapproval.

According to unconfirmed information, which has not been denied by the Israeli government, the raid was conducted against a military research centre in Jamraya, on the outskirts of Damascus, where Israeli warplanes hit and destroyed Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah. According to Syrian sources, 15 people may have died due to the attack.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed grave concern and called on the parties to act with the utmost restraint in order to avoid further escalation of the bloody conflict.

Meanwhile, the question of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict has made new developments.

Carla Del Ponte, Swiss magistrate and member of the UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights violations in Syria, stated that as to the responsibility for having used such weapons, there are strong indications of rebel use and not the military government. “Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas”, said Del Ponte, specifying that this was the act of “the opposition, the rebels, not by the government forces”.

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June 27, 2019

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