The opposition Syrian National Coalitiondenied Russian claimsthat rebel fighters were responsible for a chemical weapons attack. At the United Nations, Russian envoy Vitaly I. Churkin cited evidence of sarin nerve gas likely used by Syrian opposition fighters.
Spokesman for the coalition, Khalid Saleh said, “The Free Syrian Army strongly condemns all usage of chemical weapons against a civilian population.” Anonymous Western diplomats on the U.N. Security Council said Russia blocked a draft resolutionthis week that would call on parties in the Syrian conflict to allow a U.N. team access “in order to conduct an objective investigation into reports of the use of chemical weapons.” Russia had supported the statement in June during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, but according to the diplomats Russia justified its opposition saying it was not the right timing. The United Nations has accepted an invitation by the Syrian government for talks on alleged chemical weapons use. The Syrian regime has offered to meet with Swedish scientist and lead U.N. investigator Ake Sellstrom and U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Angela Kane. Meanwhile, as fighting continues in Aleppo, many residents are protesting a rebel blockadeof the government-held western parts of the city, accusing the rebels of causing severe food and medicine shortages. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, one protester was shot and killed during a demonstration on Tuesday, however the source of the fire was unclear.