A series of massive explosions illuminated the dark sky over Damascus early Sunday, igniting renewed claims that Israel has launched attacks into the war-torn country.
Syria's government said the explosions were the second Israeli airstrike in three days. The latest target, officials said, was a military research facility outside the Syrian capital.
A top Syrian official told CNN in an exclusive interview that the attack was a "declaration of war" by Israel.Syrian authorities vowed to retaliate against Israel but did not specify what action they would take.The Israeli military would not confirm or deny the Syrian claim that Israel fired rockets that hit the Jamraya research center in the Damascus suburbs.
U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.
"Our investigators have been in neighboring 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, from the way the victims were treated," Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
"This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," she added, speaking in Italian.
I keep telling people that the Syrian rebels are not exactly the sunshine and flowers committee, and I keep telling people we can't get involved in the Syrian civil war because there are no good guys. Now the UN is saying that one of the rebel groups, not the Asaad regime, that used sarin. That's exactly what the rebels would want to do in order to draw Israel and the US into a wider international conflict, and Israel has happily obliged them.
Now we've got a shooting war on our hands unless some kinds of miracle happens. Enjoy, folks. Syria's going to get turned into a parking lot, and Israel will have all the excuse it needs to take Syrian land.
It's going to be an ugly week, folks. Stay turned.