Hasty responses to anti-Syria chemical allegation

Hasty responses to anti-Syria chemical allegation
Wed Aug 21, 2013 21:44:08

Britain, France, Turkey, the Arab League and Saudi Arabia have hastily responded to a report by the opponents of the Syrian government, calling on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss claims over the use of chemical weapons.

Britain's Foreign Secretary said the country will ask the United Nations Security Council to discuss claims of a chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syrian opposition groups claim at least 100 people were killed during a fierce government offensive against rebel-held areas, and some activists claim regime troops used "poisonous gas." The Syrian government denied its troops used chemical weapons.

Britain's Foreign Minister William Hague said Wednesday that "if verified, this would be a shocking escalation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We are determined the people responsible will one day be held to account."

On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande called on United Nations inspectors to visit the site of an alleged chemical attack near Damascus. "With regard to the information coming out of Syria, the president asks that the UN goes to the site," Najat Vallaud-Belkacem government spokeswoman told a weekly news briefing.

Turkey also called on UN inspectors to look into reports by Syria’s foreign-backed militants that almost 500 people were killed on Wednesday in an alleged gas attack and shelling by the Syrian government forces, claiming it was monitoring the situation "with great concern".
Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby called on Wednesday for United Nations inspectors to immediately investigate reports of a chemical attack near the Syrian capital that activists claim has killed more than 200 people, Egypt's state news agency said.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, called on Wednesday for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss reports of a chemical attack that opposition groups claim killed hundreds of people in Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said.

The head of the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors in Syria said on Wednesday reports of a nerve gas attack killing more than 200 people near Damascus should be investigated.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom told TT news agency that while he had only seen TV footage, the high number of casualties reported sounded suspicious.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011.

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.

According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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