News / Middle East

UN to Probe Alleged Syria Chemical Attack Site Monday

A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces, Aug. 21, 2013.A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces, Aug. 21, 2013.
x
A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces, Aug. 21, 2013.
A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces, Aug. 21, 2013.
VOA News
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says U.N. personnel will begin inspecting the site of a major suspected chemical attack near Damascus on Monday.

In a statement released by his spokesman on Sunday, Ban said the Syrian government agreed to "provide the necessary cooperation" for the U.N. team to investigate the August 21 incident.

Ban said that cooperation includes ceasing hostilities in the area of the attack in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

A senior Obama administration official dismissed the Syrian government's offer to let the U.N. inspectors access the site, calling it "too late to be credible."

The U.S. official said there is "very little doubt" that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used a chemical weapon against civilians in Ghouta.

The official said the available evidence of Wednesday's attack has been "significantly corrupted as a result of the regime's persistent shelling and other intentional actions over the last five days."

The Syrian government pledged to work with visiting U.N. disarmament envoy Angela Kane to enable the U.N. team to visit the attack site. It has denied carrying out a chemical attack and accused Syrian rebels of being responsible for using such weapons.

The U.N. inspectors led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom arrived in Damascus a week ago to investigate earlier allegations of chemical attacks in the Syrian conflict.  

Western powers had called on the Syrian government to give the U.N. team immediate access to the scene of Wednesday's incident, fearing any delay would enable evidence of a chemical attack to degrade or be removed.

The U.S. official said Washington and its international partners believe there is little doubt of Syrian government responsibility based on "the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts, and other facts gathered by open sources."

Syrian rebels and activists said the alleged government chemical attack killed hundreds of civilians and released footage to back up their claim, showing scores of bodies and patients writhing in agony, all with no visible wounds.

Syrian state news agency SANA accused rebels of carrying out a new chemical attack on Saturday, causing soldiers to suffocate in the Joubar suburb of Damascus.  

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday that U.S. forces are prepared to take action against Syria, if President Barack Obama approves. Obama met with top U.S. military and national security advisors on Saturday to consider his options.

The office of French President Francois Hollande said he and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on Sunday to hold talks soon on how to respond to what the French leader called the Syrian government's "intolerable act."

It also quoted Hollande as saying the suspected chemical attack will not go "unpunished."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that he may take action against longtime enemy Syria, telling a Cabinet meeting that "our finger is responsible, and when needed it is also on the trigger."

He said the Ghouta attack demonstrates that what he called the "world's most dangerous regimes" must not be allowed to posses the "world's most dangerous weapons."

Syria and its allies warned against any U.S.-led military strikes.

In an interview broadcast Saturday, Syrian Information Minister Omran Zoabi told Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen television that U.S. military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a "fire that will inflame the Middle East."

Russia's foreign ministry accused some nations of trying to "impose their opinion" on the U.N. inspectors. It said those nations that suggest they could take military action against Syria should "use their common sense" and "refrain from committing a tragic mistake."

The head of the Russian parliament's International Affairs Committee posted a message on Twitter saying President Obama risks becoming a "clone" of his predecessor George W. Bush. Alexei Pushkov said Obama is moving toward what he called an "illegitimate" war in Syria in the same way that Bush did with Iraq.

Iran's Fars news agency also quoted the Iranian military's deputy chief of staff Massoud Jazayeri as saying "any crossing of Syria's red line will have severe consequences for the White House."

In Syria's latest violence, Syrian state television reported that the governor of Hama province was assassinated in a car bombing on Sunday.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Victoria, BC, Canada
August 26, 2013 11:31 AM
To listen to them it seems British and French leaders and to some degree red-line Obama have already publicly decided the west -- Nato and the Persian Gulf oil state monarchies -- must/will militarily attack Syrian government forces and installations no matter what the UN chemical inspectors find.
Time to prepare for another Middle East war, one that is very likely to spread throughout the entire region and also engulf Jewish Israel, Turkish-European Turkey,

Persian Iran, Lebanon, and mostly Shi'ite Iraq. The gulf oil states, once this war really becomes a regional conflagration, will see their oil fields and refineries turn into blazing pyres -- as millions of immigrant laborers and professionals try desperately to flee the region, resulting in an exodus not seen in modern history: an unruly wholesale transmigration of sorts. Messy, messy, messy and almost impossible without mass death and fighting much as happened when Pakistan and India turned into two nations.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 25, 2013 10:50 PM
What is going on in Syria? I do not believe in what this photo says. Which is responsible for these toll, government or rebel?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid