UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The government of Syria on Wednesday asked the world body to investigate three alleged chemical attacks carried out by rebels in the Damascus suburbs last week, a Syrian envoy told reporters here.
"I have just addressed on behalf of my government a letter to both the secretary-general of the United Nations as well as to the president of the Security Council," said Bashar Ja'afari, Syria's permanent representative to the UN.
"The letter contains a request by the Syrian government to the secretary-general to mandate immediately the investigation team present now in Damascus to investigate three heinous incidents that took place in the countryside of Damascus on August 22, 24 and 25," Ja'afari said.
The envoy noted that members of the Syrian army inhaled poisonous gas as a result of the use by "terrorist groups" of chemical agents similar to the nerve gas sarin.
Dozens of Syrian soldiers are currently being treated in hospitals after the incidents, he added.
Farhan Haq, associate spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, confirmed later Wednesday that the United Nations had received a letter from the Syrian government on the request for additional investigation.
On Aug. 21, the Syrian opposition claimed that some 1,300 people were killed in a chemical weapon attack carried out by the government army on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus. The Syrian government strongly denied the accusation.
The UN team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, was initially going to look into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the northern Khan al-Assal town and two other undisclosed locations. The priority of the UN investigators for the present, however, was to investigate the latest incident involving an alleged use of chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of al- Ghouta on Aug. 21.