UNITED NATIONS, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government on Wednesday asked the United Nations to send an independent mission to investigate a reported chemical weapons attack by rebels in the country's northern province of Aleppo, a Syrian envoy told reporters here.
"I am here to inform you that the Syrian government has requested a few minutes ago the secretary-general of the United Nations to form a specialized, independent, neutral and technical mission to investigate the use by the terrorist groups operating in Syria of chemical weapons yesterday against civilians in the town Khan al-Asal in Aleppo," said Bashar Ja'afari, permanent representative of Syria to the UN.
Ja'afari underlined that his government did so in "a sign of good faith, good will, good intentions vis-a-vis the international community and vis-a-vis the international public opinion."
At least 25 people were killed and 130 others wounded Tuesday when armed men fired a rocket stuffed with chemical materials at the Khan al-Asal town in Aleppo, the state-media said, accusing the armed opposition fighters of being behind it. However, the rebels denied the accusations and turned the accusation finger against the government.
Ja'afari noted that the rebels tried to accuse the Syrian government of using these chemical materials "in order to distract attention from the real fact on the ground, which is that the Syrian government, if in fact it has such weapons, would never use them against its own population."
The envoy also recalled that the Syrian government had sent an early notification about this possibility in an official letter to both the secretary general and the president of the Security Council on Dec. 8, 2012.
"Syria, as you know, is part of most of the international conventions related to the prohibition of using weapons of mass destruction as a principle," he stressed.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke in a phone call with Ahmet Uzumcu, Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), voicing "deep concern" about the alleged use of these deadly weapons in Syria.
According to a read-out of the conversation, "the secretary- general remains convinced that the use of chemical weapons by any party under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime. "
Also on Tuesday, Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said the UN is not in a position to confirm the reports of possible chemical weapons use in Syria.