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Tests on Syrians show traces of chemical weapons: Turkish FM

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news briefing with Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov in Almaty April 26
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news briefing with Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov in Almaty April 26

AMMAN (Reuters) - Tests on Syrian war casualties arriving in Turkey indicate chemical weapons have been used by Syrian forces, and further tests are being carried out to verify the evidence, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday.

"We have been making tests and we have some indications regarding chemical weapons being used, but in order to make sure and verify we are continuing these tests and will be sharing these tests with UN agencies," he said in Amman.

Turkey confirmed last week that it had begun testing blood samples taken from Syrian casualties brought over its border for treatment to determine whether they were victims of chemical weapons.

Davutoglu said the prospect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons had long been a real concern for his country and added that it was not a secret Damacus had stockpiles and had never signed international accords banning the use of such weapons.

"We know the Syrian regime has stocks ... And everybody knows the Syrian regime has this capacity," Davutoglu said.

"Of course this has been one of our major concerns because chemical weapons are a threat against humanity and a crime."

Washington has said it views the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a "red line" but wants proof before taking any action in response.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Andrew Roche)

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