UN to investigate alleged chemical attack in Syria
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the probe into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Aleppo will start as soon as possible. Official Damascus and the rebels are trading the blame for allegedly using a missile with chemical damage agent on Tuesday.
The statement made by the UN secretary-general became a response to the official request made by Syrian authorities on Wednesday to appoint an independent mission to investigate the March 19chemical attack on the outskirts of Aleppo that claimed lives of at least 25 people.
“I have decided to conduct a United Nations investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Ban Ki-moon told reporters, specifying that the investigation will focus on the Aleppo attack,“the specific incident brought to my attention by the Syrian government.”
The UN investigators will cooperate with experts with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I am of course aware that there are other allegations of similar cases involving the reported use of chemical weapons,” Ban acknowledged.
The UN decision to investigate the Aleppo chemical attack as a single case contradicts the position of Britain and France, which followed the claims of the Syrian opposition saying that there were two chemical weapons attacks, one in Aleppo and another in Damascus, demanding that both be investigated simultaneously.
According to Churkin, Moscow hopes that the US and France are not going to protract or hamper the UN investigation into the Aleppo chemical attack in Syria.
“I expressed hope that their initiatives are not attempts to postpone, hamper or prevent the investigation into what happened on March 19, because this issue needs urgent attention,” Churkin said.
British Deputy Ambassador Philip Parham openly questioned the credibility of the Syrian authorities.
“It is the Syrian regime which has stockpiles of chemical weapons and material in Syria,” he said.
“It is worth just remembering how many distortions and falsehoods we have been hearing from the Syrian regime over the last two years.”
Churkin questioned the allegations about a second attack in Damascus, saying that “instead of launching those propaganda balloons I think it’s much better to get our focus right.”
“As far as I know there is only one allegation of the use of chemical weapons … there have been no other allegations,” he said.
Syria’s government and opposition have called for an inquiry into an attack that seems to have involved chemical weapons, both sides blaming each other.
Syria’s UN envoy said he had asked the UN secretary general to set up an inquiry into Tuesday’s attack.
Opposition leaders meanwhile demanded a “full international investigation”.
US President Barack Obama has said he is “deeply sceptical” of the Syrian government’s allegations that rebel forces used such weapons.
Mr Obama, on a visit to Israel, said some Syrian government officials had “expressed a willingness to use chemical weapons if necessary to protect themselves”.
He repeated his insistence that chemical weapons were a “red line” for the US in terms of its involvement in Syria, saying using them against Syrian people “would be a serious and tragic mistake”.
Earlier, US ambassador Robert Ford said there was no evidence to support claims that a rocket containing poisonous gas hit Khan al-Assal, killing some 20 people.
Mr Ford, who left Damascus more than a year ago, warned that there would be “consequences” for the Syrian government if it was found to have used chemical weapons for the first time since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
two different articles..please note the syrian government requested the investigation..then the rebels jumped on board..but the usa, uk and french have already decreed its assad who did it.. because assad is so stupid he would let off one weapon for no apparent gain to give an excuse to the west to join in the battle full time..think about it..who has something to gain from chemical weapons being used and detected? certainly not assad..