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UN chemical weapons experts in Damascus

2013-07-24 14:03

Damascus - Two senior UN inspectors tasked with examining claims that chemical weapons have been deployed in Syria's civil war arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, an AFP photographer reported.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom and Angela Kane, the UN high representative for disarmament, arrived at a hotel in the Syrian capital.

The pair are to hold talks with senior government officials during their two-day visit, Damascus-based UN media and communications analyst Khaled Al Masri said.

Top of the agenda will be access to areas of the country where chemical weapons are alleged to have been used so that they can pursue their investigations.

Syria's regime and rebels fighting to topple it have accused each other of using chemical weapons in the drawn-out conflict which has seen more than 100 000 people killed.

On 11 June, the United Nations accepted an invitation by the Syrian government for a visit by the two officials for talks on chemical weapons.

Red line

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirsky gave a limited brief for the visit at the time.

The two officials accepted the invitation "with a view to completing the consultations on the modalities of co-operation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the UN mission to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria," he said.

The United States has accused forces loyal to President Bashar Assad of making limited use of its chemical weapons stockpiles during the conflict, a finding backed by several other Western governments.

Longstanding Assad ally Russia has accused the rebels of using chemical weapons.

Damascus has insisted any investigation should focus on the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo in March, which it blamed on the rebels.

The town was captured by the rebels from the army on Monday, in what diplomats at the United Nations said was a blow to the mission's hopes of gaining access.

The United States has previously said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria's conflict would constitute a "red line" that would warrant greater involvement.

Comments
  • Piet Boerie - 2013-07-25 05:13

    We already know the UN Del Ponte found the rebels used chemicals and Turkey caught the rebels inside Turkey with gas. One only wonders what they were going to do with it. For a cretin Michael with double barrelled surname who thinks one liners work http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22424188 http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2368184 This war would have ended and dictator Assad disposed if the US did not get involved and back AlQaeda mercenaries which drew in many other combatants. Can never let up a chance to seel more weapons. War is big business and some one makes money while some one has to finance the war. I reckon end war take out the financers.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-07-25 07:57

      It always amazes me that some people have such an inferiority complex that they feel the need to blame all their problems on others. "We Muslims are massacring each other, but it's not our fault! Boo hoo!"

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