UN Urges Swift Probe on Syria Chemical Attack Claims
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the alleged chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital "needs to be investigated without delay".
Ban Ki-moon has asked the Syrian government to allow a team of United Nations experts to investigate the latest allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons and is sending one of his senior officials to Damascus in this regard.
A UN team is currently in Syria spending up to 14 days, with a possible extension, probing the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Government at Khan al-Asal, as well as two other allegations reported by Member States.
The UN Secretary General is requesting that the team, led by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, be granted permission and access to “swiftly” investigate the incident which occurred on the morning of 21 August 2013.
Ban has instructed the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, to travel to Damascus. Before the government allowed access to the UN team, Kane consulted with Damascus on the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission.
Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad as many as 100,000 people have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced. In addition, at least 6.8 million Syrian require urgent humanitarian assistance, half of whom are children.