UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday said the latest alleged chemical weapons attack happening in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital of Syria, needs to be investigated by the world body "without delay."
In a statement issued here by his spokesperson, Ban demanded the UN team of chemical weapons inspectors, who are currently in Damascus, "be granted permission and access to swiftly investigate the incident which occurred on the morning of 21 August 2013."
"A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the government of Syria in this regard," said Ban, who also "expects to receive a positive response without delay."
Remaining "deeply troubled" by the reports of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Middle East country, the UN chief has been in touch with world leaders on the matter and instructed Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane to travel to Damascus, according to the statement.
Furthermore, senior UN officials have been in contact with the Syrian authorities since the first reports were received, the statement added.
Ban also reiterated his call for "a cessation of hostilities" so that humanitarian assistance can be urgently delivered.
The Syrian government and rebels have been blaming each other for a purported chemical weapons attack on Khan al-Asal on March 19 that killed at least 25 people and injured 130 others.
The Syrian opposition again accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of killing 1,300 people in chemical attacks in the suburbs of Damascus Wednesday, a charge denied by the Syrian government.
The alleged chemical weapons attack took place just two days after a group of UN inspectors began an investigation into alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.
The UN fact-finding group will investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons reported by the government of Syria at Khan al- Asal as well as two other allegations reported by member states.