Paris: France is now certain that the deadly nerve agent sarin gas has been used several times during the conflict in Syria, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday, citing tests carried out by a French laboratory.

Fabius did not give any details of where or by whom the sarin had been used but said it had taken place "several times in a localized manner".

Diplomats said the unidentified samples tested by the French laboratory had come from two locations: a suburb of Damascus and Saraqeb in the northwest of the country. The samples from near Damascus were brought back to France by two Le Monde journalists who reported the use of chemical weapons in the area in mid-April.

Fabius said he had transferred his results to the United Nations, which is seeking to establish whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria.

UN investigators said earlier they had "reasonable grounds" to believe both sides in Syria used chemical weapons.


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