Topic: Protests in Syria
- Russia Welcomes Accord on Syria Chemical Arms Probe
- Russia Defends Claim on Chemical Weapons Use by Syrian Rebels
- Syrian Gov’t Claims Massive Seizure of Toxic Chemicals
- UN Denies Chemical Weapon Experts Delayed Syria Trip
MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) – A group of UN experts arrived in Syria on Sunday to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war there, media reports said.
The 20-member team, headed by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, checked into a hotel in central Damascus on Sunday refusing to speak to reporters on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The UN inspectors had been on standby since early April to visit Syria but the mission was delayed for months by the negotiations with the Syrian government.
The UN team, including weapons experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will try to establish only whether chemical weapons including sarin and other toxic nerve agents were used, not who used them.
The UN team is expected to visit three sites where chemical weapons attacks possibly occurred, including one in the town of Khan al-Assal, Syria’s northern Aleppo province, where the Syrian government claimed rebels used chemical weapons in March. The two other locations have not been specified yet for safety reasons.
A source in the UN headquarters told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity that the team is to start the investigation on Monday.
Syria remains among seven countries that have not joined the 1997 convention banning chemical weapons.
At least 100,000 people are believed to have died since fighting broke out between Syrian government forces and rebels in March 2011, according to the latest UN figures.
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