The UN has submitted and published its report on its investigation into the use of chemical weapons within the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, Syria on August 21, and it has confirmed what many have longtime suspected. While the report does not charge the government or the rebels with the attacks, many of the details, in addition to the context of recent news, help strengthen the case that al-Assad's regime is behind the attacks.
The 38-page report concludes that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and "against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale." The report also concluded that the attack was implemented by "surface-to surface rockets containing the nerve agent, Sarin." The rapidly acting toxic agent was found to be 91% positive in one lab of blood samples, and 85% in another lab. Urine samples from the town of Zamalka were 91% positive, while samples from nearby Moadamiyah were 100% positive.
The surface-to-surface missile conclusion came from rocket debris that was collected by U.N. inspectors. The rocket debris, "matches one of the variants of the M14 artillery rocket," and was launched from a, "single, multi-barrel, launcher."
Testimonies from doctors, first-responders, and victims were taken in addition to blood, urine, and hair samples. Photographs in the report show the affected eyes of Syrian civilians with charts of data and findings in the appendices to support. Pictures and diagrams of the surface-to-surface rockets debris are also included.
The report's findings are what John Kerry and the Obama administration have been claiming for weeks while building their case of Syria intervention. What the report doesn't conclude is who used the weapons. Obama says it was the military. Putin said it was the rebels.
Here's what can be extrapolated from the report. A previous news cycle ran reports of rebels accidentally detonating Saudi rockets and releasing sarin gas. The trajectory of the rockets into rebel-controlled suburbs from a single launcher dissipates this story. The same trajectory and military tech to launch said rockets also favors the case that it was used by the Syrian military, who was besieging the rebel-controlled Ghouta with the help of Hezbollah.
Just through the mere fact that Putin's plan relies on Syria handing its own chemical weapon stockpile over, it's clear that the army has chemical weapons. It's not a stretch to presume that the military has used them in this conflict, because there have definitely been chemical attacks.