UNSC urges clarity over chemical arms in Syria

UNSC urges clarity over chemical arms in Syria
Thu Aug 22, 2013 08:44:26

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called for clarity on the alleged usage of chemical arms by the Syrian government in an attack near the capital city of Damascus.

On Wednesday, the international body held a meeting behind closed doors regarding allegations of a pre-dawn attack on the eastern suburbs of the capital.

Syria's opposition claimed earlier in the day that around 1,300 people were killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar.

"There is a strong concern among council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and the situation must be followed closely," said Argentinean Ambassador to the UN Maria Cristina Perceval, who is the president of the council this month, at a press conference following the meeting.

Perceval did not call for an investigation into the matter but welcomed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s “determination” to launch a probe.

"The members of the Security Council also welcomed the determination of the secretary general to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation," she said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government and the army denied any role in the alleged chemical attack.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and France have hastily expressed concern over the attack, calling for an investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Moshe Yaalon accused the Syrian army of being behind the attack.

Russia also called for an objective and professional investigation into the alleged attack, adding that previous such reports have proven false.

Reports of the alleged attack were issued just as a UN chemical weapons inspection team arrived in Syria, making “us think that we are once again dealing with a premeditated provocation," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011 when people held protest rallies to call for reforms but foreign-backed militants turned it to terrorist campaign against Syrian government and people.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million others displaced since the outbreak of the violence.


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