DAMASCUS, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Syria's state media on Monday blamed "armed terrorist groups" for firing at the UN chemical investigation team in the countryside of Damascus.
The UN team was shot at while entering the rebellious suburb of Muadamieh in western countryside of Damascus, after the Syrian competent authorities secured the team's arrival to an area close to the parts under the rebels' control in Muadmieh, the report said.
Earlier, an unnamed UN spokesman was quoted by the pan-Arab al- Maydeen TV as saying that there was multiple, deliberate shootings on the UN team, which caused damage to a car. He spelled no further details about the well-being of the team members.
The UN inspectors in Syria started Monday on-site fact-finding activities in the eastern al-Ghouta area in the countryside of Damascus to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons.
The team started its mission a day after the Syrian government granted it an access to the site of the alleged attacks.
On Aug. 21, the Syrian opposition claimed 1,300 people were killed in a chemical arm attack by the government on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus, which was strongly denied by the Syrian government.
The Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011 between government forces and armed opposition seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, has led to killings of more than 93,000 people and forced more than 1.7 million people to flee the country.
MOSCOW, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Western accusations that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons are "an insult to common sense," President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia published Monday.
"Such accusations are political, and the reason for this was the series of victories by government forces over the terrorists," he said in the interview, posted on the newspaper's website.Full story
JERUSALEM, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday evening accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 's government of routinely using unconventional weaponry against insurgents and civilians in the Syrian conflict, according to a statement issued by the minister's office.
"There are many events taking place in our region, especially the use of unconventional weaponry by an unconventional regime -- a move that caused the tragic death of hundreds of innocent civilians," Ya'alon said when meeting visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, referring to an alleged chemical missile strike on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday.Full story
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. PresidentBarack Obamaconvened a meeting of his national security team on Saturday to review options of responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Obama and his military and security aides met at theWhite Houseto assess the latest intelligence concerning the alleged chemical attack by Syrian government troops last Wednesday, and discuss the options of a U.S. response, the White House said in a statement.Full story
ISTANBUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition umbrella group in exile, called upon Saturday the West and Arabic countries to intervene to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
Ahmad Al-Jarba, the president of the SNC, said "We ask U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of other Western countries and Arab world to be responsible at personal level and intervene to stop the 'massacre' in Syria."Full story