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Syria claims discovery of chemical materials belonging to rebels

Syria's state media said Sunday that the army has found chemical materials in a factory of Joubar, countryside of the capital Damascus, which is used by the armed rebels for making chemical weapons.

"A unit of the armed forces discovered the factory to manufacture and store the toxic chemical weapons inside a terrorists' den in the area surrounding al-Manashir roundabout in Joubar," the state-run SANA news agency said.

Quoting an official source, SANA said that the Syrian army has seized a number of toxic chemical materials, in addition to chlorine substances in containers, some of which are foreign-made.

The source added that the army also seized weapons and dozens of mortar shells which were prepared to be filled with chemical materials.

The Syrian government and the armed rebels have been trading accusations over the use of chemical weapons in the country's deadly conflict.

Syria's permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, announced on July 8 that Syria has invited the UN chemical weapons investigator and the UN high representative for disarmament to visit Damascus following the discovery of rebel-held chemical weapons which are enough to "destroy a whole country."

UN officials have accepted on July 11 the Syrian invitation.

At least 25 people were killed and 130 others wounded on March 19 when armed men fired a rocket stuffed with chemical materials at Khan al-Asal, according to local media.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 14Jul13]

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