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British scientists find proof of Syria gas use

By Andrew Woodcock

British scientists at Porton Down have found positive evidence of deadly sarin gas on samples of cloth and soil from the Damascus suburb.

The UK's confirmation of poison gas use will further fuel calls for action against Assad at the G20 summit in St Petersburg, where host Vladimir Putin agreed to put Syria on the agenda for talks over dinner last night.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the test result "adds to the picture" of chemical weapons use, but said the key issue was whether those questioning the regime's culpability can be convinced Assad is to blame.

The development came as Pope Francis urged the G20 leaders to overcome their differences on Syria and agree to halt "the futile pursuit of a military solution".

In a letter to Mr Putin, the Pope warned that armed conflicts create "profound divisions which require many years to heal" and called on G20 states to pursue "a peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation".

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