Topic: Protests in Syria
- Lavrov: Unilateral Western Intervention in Syria Against the Law
- Russian FM Blasts West Over Syrian Chemical Weapons
- Chemical Weapons Experts’ Convoy Attacked in Syria – UN
- Germany Urges Action If Syria ‘Poison Gas Attack’ Proved
DAMASCUS, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – UN chemical weapons experts on Monday reached the site of an alleged poison gas attack outside Damascus hours after their convoy came under sniper fire.
The UN team members met with survivors and took samples at the site in Ghouta, an eastern part of Damascus, where hundreds were killed last week.
Earlier on Monday, unidentified snipers hit a vehicle of the chemical weapons investigation team forcing them to suspend their inquiry. No injuries have been reported. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Speaking in a news conference on Monday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the sniper attack took place while the UN team was in rebel-controlled territory.
However, a UN statement on the incident says the vehicle was in the "buffer zone" at the time of the attack, i.e. was in territory controlled neither by the rebels nor by government forces.
The Syrian government and the opposition have traded accusations over the sniper attack. The Syrian opposition claimed that the government forces attacked the UN inspectors to “intimidate them,” AFP reported.
The team of UN experts is currently investigating the gas attack on the ground, though their mandate is limited to confirming that the attack took place, not establishing who was behind it.
The gas attack gave an advantage to those who want to trigger foreign military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lavrov said, though he added that it was up to the UN to determine the perpetrators.
“Was it really in the interest of the Syrian government to use chemical weapons right when the [UN] inspectors are working there?” Lavrov said.
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