DAMASCUS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- UN inspectors tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria arrived at the war-torn country Sunday.
The 20-member UN delegation, led by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, checked into the Four Seasons Hotel in central Damascus and will begin their two-week mission Monday.
The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Khan al-Asal town on March 19 that killed at least 25 people and injured 130 others, and both have denied it.
The UN fact-finding mission, set up in March at the request of the Syrian government, will investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons at the Khan al-Asal town on the southwestern outskirts of the embattled city of Aleppo and two other sites.
The locations of two other incidents have not been made known due to a security precaution. The UN investigation team's mandate is to report on whether chemical weapons were used, and if so, to specify what kind of chemical weapons was used, but not to determine the responsibility of the attack.
Syrian president confident of rooting out terrorism
DAMASCUS, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday his country is capable of rooting out terrorism, as government troops reportedly regained almost all of the contested countryside area of the coastal city of Latakia, the heartland of his rule.
Assad made the remarks when meeting with a visiting Mauritanian delegation, during which the embattled leader stressed that Syria welcomes all of the constructive efforts to solve the crisis and is determined to work jointly to beat terrorism that has engulfed the country for over 29 months. Full story
Syria accuses U.S. of concealing unwillingness to help resolve crisis
DAMASCUS, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Foreign Ministry on Friday accused the U.S. administration of continuing its "lies and deception" to conceal its stance that rejects peaceful solution to Syria's long-standing conflict.
In a terse statement Friday, the ministry accused the United States of being unwilling to help find a political solution through a dialogue among the Syrians at the upcoming peace conference in Geneva. Full story
Russia accuses U.S. of disturbing preparations for Syria conference
MOSCOW, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia slammed the United States on Friday for turning the situation upside down over the preparations for a planned Geneva conference on Syria.
The United States, who had blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his reluctance to participate in the Syrian peace conference in Geneva without preconditions, was "turning the entire situation upside down," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.Full story