DAMASCUS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN chemical investigation team arrived Sunday in the Syrian capital of Damascus to start a 14-day mission aimed at probing alleged use of chemical weapons in conflict-stricken areas.
The team, comprising about 10 experts, arrived at the Four Seasons hotel in five UN SUVs and checked in without making any statement.
The fact-finding group was assembled in The Hague in early August. Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was asked by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set up the group in March. The UN decision was made at the request of the Syrian government.
The probe will kick off based on a UN-Syria agreement reached in late July, which allows the investigators access to Khan al- Asal and two other sites.
At least 25 people were killed and 130 others wounded on March 19 when armed men fired a rocket stuffed with chemical materials in Khan al-Asal.
The locations of the two other incidents "are being kept confidential as a safety and security precaution," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here early this month.
The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons, while both have denied it.
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday announced that the UN team of chemical weapons inspectors will have an imminent departure for Syria with the formal acceptance of modalities essential for cooperation from Damascus.
"The secretary-general is pleased to announce that the government of Syria has formally accepted the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the Mission," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- A UN team tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has completed all logistical preparations for its inaugural trip to the war-torn nation, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
"Over the weekend, the investigation team led by Dr. Ake Sellstrom completed all the necessary logistical arrangements for its visit to Syria," said a statement issued by UN spokesperson office. Full story