News Column

UN Chemical Weapons Team Heads for Syria

July 31, 2013
syrian soldier
Syrian soldier in chemical weapons protective gear (file photo)

United Nations chemical weapons investigators are heading to Syria after Damascus has agreed to receive them, the UN announced Wednesday.

The decision comes after representatives of the UN mission tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria visited the country last week to negotiate the terms of inspection.

"On the basis of the information evaluated by the mission to date and further to the understanding reached with the government of Syria, the mission will travel to Syria as soon as possible to contemporaneously investigate three of the reported incidents," the UN statement said.

According to the announcement, one of the three sites investigated will be Khan al-Assal, a town where the Syrian government claims opposition forces used chemical weapons in March.

Initially, the UN demanded open access to 13 locations in Syria where chemical weapons were purportedly used. However, the Syrian government reportedly insisted that they investigate only Khan al-Assal.

The other two locations for the investigation have not been disclosed.

The investigation comes after Britain, France and the United States have presented evidence in recent months of suspected chemical attacks in Syria, which they blamed on al-Assad's troops.

Both the rebels and the government deny using chemical weapons during the two-year-old conflict. The UN estimates that 100,000 people have been killed in the 28-month conflict.





Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH


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