ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Wednesday expressed grave concern over the use of chemical weapons in Syria and said it was unacceptable under any circumstances.

“Pakistan is opposed to the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances. We note with grave concern that chemical weapons were used in Syria,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed told The Nation when the government’s view was sought on the UN report this week that confirmed use of deadly chemical weapons in Syria last month.

The chemical attack on August 21 in the Damascus suburbs of Ghouta, the rebel-controlled area, resulted in a mass killing of civilians.

The report by the UN investigating team, commissioned by secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, was released on Monday and subsequently dispatched to member states.

“The report makes a chilling reading,” Ban Ki-moon was quoted as telling a news conference shortly after briefing the Security Council.

“The findings are beyond doubt and beyond the pale. This is a war crime,” he declared.

When Pakistan’s position was sought on the UN report, the Foreign Office spokesperson said it was currently being examined by the government and noted: “We support the efforts of international community to evolve modalities for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons under the auspices of OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).”

Asked if Pakistan was required to give its feedback on the report as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, his response was: “Pakistan will express its views during discussions on the subject in the UN Security Council.”

On whether Pakistan supports the view that findings of the report point to the Syrian regime’s involvement in the attack, the Foreign Office spokesperson left it at: “We are examining the report. We understand the report confirms use of chemical weapons but does not ascribe responsibility for it.”

He was non-committal when asked if this matter figured in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s talks with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara.

The report does not directly name the forces behind the chemical arms attack. There are two opinions on the matter. US bloc, the Syrian rebels and their western and Arab supporters hold the Syrian regime responsible for it while the Russian bloc and the Syrian government blame the rebel forces with active assistance of countries closely allied with the US.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Pakistan has kept a close watch on the conflict in Syria. It had clearly indicated that it would oppose any resolution calling for authoriwation of military action against Syria on “alleged use of chemical weapons” if put to vote before the UN Security Council.