Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

Read more

Middle east

UN chemical weapons team arrives in Syria

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-18

A UN team of chemical weapons inspectors arrived in Damascus on Sunday. The experts will visit three different sites over two weeks to ascertain whether chemical weapons have been used in the more than two-year Syrian conflict.

UN inspectors tasked with investigating whether chemical weapons have been used in the Syrian conflict arrived in Damascus on Sunday, an AFP journalist reported.

The UN team arrived at the Four Seasons hotel in the Syrian capital to begin their hard-won mission which UN officials have said will last two weeks.

There is ‘no doubt’ sarin was used in Syria, Fabius says

The mission had been repeatedly delayed earlier this year amid differences with President Bashar al-Assad's regime over the scope of the probe into the alleged use of chemical arms in the 29-month civil war.

But the Syrian government insisted on Thursday that it had nothing to hide.

Both the government and the rebels fighting to overthrow Assad accuse each other of using chemical weapons.

Led by Swedish arms expert Aake Sellstroem, the team is expected to investigate Khan al-Assal, near Aleppo, where the government says rebels used chemical weapons on March 19, killing at least 26 people, including 16 Syrian soldiers.

The opposition says government forces carried out the attack.

Syrian government requests UN chemical attack probe
Khan al-Assal has since fallen into rebel control, raising questions about how the UN team might reach the site.

The Syrian opposition says the investigators can have full access to sites under its control where chemical weapons are alleged to have been used.

Damascus had called for a UN probe in March but insisted it focus solely on Khan al-Assal.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, however, pressed for broader access and investigation of other sites as well.

The United Nations has not yet identified two other sites where investigations are to be carried out.

"Our goal remains a fully independent and impartial inquiry," said a UN statement.

"Use of chemical weapons is a game changer," Obama says
"The secretary general believes that an effective mechanism to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons can serve as an important deterrent against their employment," it added.

"The overwhelming support of the international community for this investigation makes clear that the use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime."

US President Barack Obama has warned the Damascus regime that any use of chemical weapons against civilians would cross a "red line" and constitute a "game-changer".

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-08-18

  • SYRIA - UNITED NATIONS

    Chemical weapons team's Syria departure ‘imminent’

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    UN to inspect suspected chemical attack sites in Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria, Russia dismiss US chemical weapons claims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)