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UN mission to probe Syria chemical weapon incident

UN mission to probe Syria chemical weapon incident

United Nations: The UN chemical investigation team in Syria will start a probe in the Ghouta area on the latest incident of the alleged use of chemical weapons, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Sunday.

The Syrian government has agreed to cooperate for an on-site investigation that begins Monday. The probe will include the observance of the cessation of hostilities at related locations of the chemical weapon incident, Xinhua reported citing the statement issued by the spokesperson for UN secretary general.

Ban Ki-moon has instructed the investigation team, led by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, to focus its attention "on ascertaining the facts of the Aug 21 incident as its highest priority".

He also stressed that "all relevant parties equally share the responsibility of cooperating in urgently generating a safe environment for the mission to do its job efficiently and providing all necessary information," the statement said.

On Aug 21, Syrian opposition claimed that 1,300 people were killed in a government chemical weapon attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital. The Syrian government denied the allegation.

The alleged chemical weapons attack took place just two days after a group of UN inspectors began an investigation into alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal town and two other undisclosed locations.

UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane met with Syrian government officials in Damascus Saturday and Sunday to seek agreement on the probe of the latest incident.

The UN team of inspectors was set up at the request of the Syrian government in March.

The Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011 between government forces and armed opposition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, has led to killings of more than 93,000 people and forced more than 1.7 million people to flee the country.


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