UN Syria inspectors visit chemical site

UN Syria inspectors visit chemical site
Mon Aug 26, 2013 22:47:19

UN inspectors visited Monday the scene of a suspected chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital after braving sniper fire.

The arms experts spoke to victims of the August 21 attack, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said from Seoul.

Referring to reported sniper attack by militants, Ban said despite the "very dangerous circumstances" faced by the team, the investigators "visited two hospitals, they interviewed witnesses, survivors and doctors, they also collected some samples."

The hospitals are in the Moadamiyet al-Sham suburb of Damascus.

In Moadamiyet al-Sham, the UN team took samples and interviewed medical staff during a visit which lasted almost three hours before returning to their hotel in Damascus.

The government approved the UN inspection on Sunday but US officials claimed it was too little, too late, arguing that persistent shelling there in recent days had "corrupted" the site.

The inspection came as the West appeared to be moving closer to launching a military response under the pretext of the alleged attack near Damascus.

However President Bashar al-Assad declared that any strike by the US and its allies would be doomed to failure and key ally Moscow warned of dangerous consequences for the entire region.

Assad, in an interview with a Russian newspaper published Monday, denied such accusations as an "insult to common sense" and said any military action was doomed to fail.

With China and Moscow expected to boycott any resolution backing a military strike, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the West could act even without full UN Security Council backing.


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