Chemical weapons were used in Syria "on a relatively large scale" on Aug. 21, says U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who issued a report by U.N. inspectors Monday. The attack killed civilians, "including many children," and constitutes a "war crime," Ban wrote. He expressed his "profound shock and regret" at the findings.
Ban received the report over the weekend from professor Ake Sellstrom of Sweden, who headed the inspection team in the incident that took place near Damascus. The secretary-general briefed the Security Council on the report earlier Monday.
The U.S.-Russia plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons by next summer faces many hurdles and includes "unrealistic" deadlines, says former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, who worked on efforts to detail chemical weapons in Iraq.
Kay says the plan will require an international military presence — "boots on the ground" — to make sure the weapons don't fall into the wrong hands.