Iran says 'proof' Syria rebels used chemical weapons

Iran says 'proof' Syria rebels used chemical weapons

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Iran, the chief regional ally of Damascus, said on Aug. 24 there is "proof" Syrian rebels used chemical weapons in their conflict with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"We are very concerned about information regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and we strongly condemn the use of such weapons," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

"There is proof terrorist groups carried out this action," Araqchi said in reference to reported deadly attacks in the Damascus area on Aug. 24, without elaborating.

Iran also warned against any Western military intervention in the 29-month conflict, after the United States suggested it was weighing up such a possibility.

"There is no international authorisation for a military intervention in Syria. We warn against any actions or statements that could create more tension in the region. I hope that White House officials show enough wisdom not to enter into such dangerous tumult," Araqchi added.

Syria's main opposition body, the National Coalition, has accused Assad's regime of "massacring" more than 1,300 people in chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday, which the regime has categorically denied.

"The provocative words of American officials or sending warships do not help to solve the problem in any way, but make the situation in the region more dangerous," said Araqchi.

Iran has "declared on several occasions that the crisis in Syria did not have a military solution... and could only be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue," he added.

Iran is Damascus's key ally in the region, and regularly warns against boosting Sunni Muslim extremist groups linked to Al-Qaeda that are fighting in the country.