News / Middle East

    Syria Denies Delaying Chemical Weapons Probe

    Bashar Ja'afari, Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Apr. 30, 2013.Bashar Ja'afari, Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Apr. 30, 2013.
    x
    Bashar Ja'afari, Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Apr. 30, 2013.
    Bashar Ja'afari, Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a news conference at U.N. headquarters, Apr. 30, 2013.
    Margaret Besheer
    Syria’s United Nations' ambassador blamed what he called "some influential countries" for the delay in sending a chemical weapons investigation team to his country. 
     
    On March 20, the Syrian government asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set up an independent and impartial investigation to probe its concerns that chemical weapons were used by armed groups in the town of Khan Asal in Aleppo province that week.
     
    Ban acted quickly, announcing the next day that he would send a team to investigate. But more than a month later, the 15-person technical mission awaits permission from the Syrian government to enter the country. 
     
    At issue is the scope of the investigation. Syria wants only Khan Asal investigated, but Britain and France have raised another possible incident of chemical weapons use in Homs. The U.N. chief has said the team should investigate all credible allegations and has urged the Syrian authorities to give the mission full and unfettered access to do their work.

    Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters Tuesday that his government is cooperating with the U.N. and is still willing to receive the team, but wants to see the Khan Asal incident investigated before it is willing to begin considering the investigation of other allegations.
     
    “We said let us now fulfill, achieve, in a credible manner, impartial, independent manner, the investigation in Khan Asal. Then if the Syrian government and the Secretary-General and the Security Council members, feel that these allegations are also credible, the Syrian government, might - might - examine the possibility of asking for a further investigation," he said. 
     
    The Syrian envoy accused hostile governments of seizing on the chemical weapons issue to increase political pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
     
    He side-stepped the question of whether the Syrian authorities possess chemical weapons, repeating the government line that if they do, they would not use them on their own people.
     
    Speaking to reporters Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again called for full access to locations in Syria, saying it is necessary if the United Nations is to be able to establish the facts and clear up doubts surrounding this issue.
     
    “A credible and comprehensive inquiry requires full access to the sites where chemical weapons are alleged to have been used. I again urge the Syrian authorities to allow the investigation to proceed without delay and without any conditions," he said. 
     
    Ban’s spokesman said Tuesday that the Syrian government’s efforts to expedite the deployment of the mission to investigate Khan Asal are welcome, but that cooperation should be extended to other sites.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dr. Hans F. from: Germany
    April 30, 2013 6:45 PM
    let me tell you something... I have been privileged to sit in an Israeli intelligence briefing level 2 (EU intel conf - they have 5 levels... the fifth is the top - actionable intelligence...) and it is incredible!!! they know EVERYTHING!!! they know when Assad is on the internet - which he uses quite a lot... what he watches... what he says and to whom... they listen to his phone calls... they advance people they control in his administration... people they can not co opt suddenly die of heart attacks... and all this is applicable to Egypt and Iran...
    now, if Putin listen to them so attentively, I believe Obama should do the same... before he commits US forces to protect Jordan, he should know that US forces will come under attack from the Jordanians themselves... listen, Turkey is imploding under Islamic fascism, Lebanon has been hollowed from within by Hezbullah, Syria is a battle ground between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Egypt is reverting to Islamic Fascism... Obama, make your move wisely...

    by: Dr. Hollenbrook from: UK
    April 30, 2013 5:20 PM
    did you hear that "The head of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has declared that Syria has real friends who will not let it fall to the US/Israel and Islamic radicals..." someone must remind this idiot that HE IS ISLAMIC RADICAL!!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora