The Syrian regime has reacted angrily to a UNHCR report confirming the small-scale use of chemical weapons in at least four incidents in Syria in March and April.
Syria's Permanent Representative to the UNHRC, Faisal al-Hamwi said the U.N.'s investigative committee had exaggerated the results and ignored crucial information.
Addressing the UNHRC session held on Tuesday, Hamwi criticized a delay in publishing the investigation committee report, saying delegates had had no time to study the findings and report back to their countries.
"In spite of our warnings against the use of sectarian language, which is rejected by the Syrian people, the committee continued to use these terms," Hamwi said.
"[The committee] ignored in its conclusions and recommendations the causes of the deteriorating social and economic situation in Syria, including the unjust unilateral sanctions imposed by some Arab and Western countries on the Syrian people," Hamwi continued.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, said the committee report was unable to take an "honest position", adding that the it failed to clearly describe the continued bombing operations taking place in the Syrian cities as "terrorist acts". He said it also failed to mention the negative impact of the unilateral economic sanctions on Syria.
The U.N. probe was conducted from outside Syria’s borders, based on interviews with doctors and witnesses of the purported attacks, and reviews of amateur videos taken from Syria. The team said solid evidence will remain elusive until inspectors can collect samples from victims directly or from the sites of alleged attacks.
The Associated Press reported that some experts cautioned that the type of evidence currently available to investigators, including videos, witness reports and physiological samples of uncertain origin, leaves space for wide doubts.
Meanwhile, forensic evidence of alleged chemical weapons use is fading away with time, and the longer U.N. inspectors are kept out of Syria, the harder it will be to collect conclusive proof, they said.
The Syrian National Coalition issued a statement on Tuesday saying the Coalition is committed to working with authorities to condemn any violation of human rights, international law, or treaties.
The Coalition pledged to hold all those involved in such violations accountable before fair trials, to ensure that the innocent are acquitted and the guilty are punished.
However, the statement added that the Coalition "emphasizes that there is no comparison between those who systematically drop fatal explosives, killing innocent women and children to suppress a popular revolution, and those who bear light and medium arms to defend unarmed civilians.”