News / Middle East

UN Chemical Weapons Team Reaches Damascus Suburb

UN Chemical Weapons Team Visits Damascus Suburb

x
UN Chemical Weapons Team Visits Damascus Suburbi
X
August 26, 2013 5:35 PM
United Nations inspectors spent several hours Monday in a Damascus suburb, to meet with victims of suspected chemical weapon attacks before returning to their hotel in the capital. Meanwhile, the international community is weighing options for a possible response to the attacks that activists say were carried out by the Syrian government. Rebels and activists say government forces used chemical weapons that killed hundreds of people in several neighborhoods last week. The government denies the allegations and has accused the rebels of using such weapons. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.

UN Chemical Weapons Team Visits Damascus Suburb

VOA News
U.N. inspectors have reached a Damascus suburb to meet victims of suspected chemical weapon attacks, after the Syrian government accepted international demands to grant access to the team. 
 
Syrian state television said Monday that troops escorted the inspectors to the southwestern suburb of Moadamiyeh, one of several rebel-held districts where the August 21 attacks happened. 
 
Syrian opposition activists said the U.N. team visited a makeshift hospital in Moadamiyeh to speak with survivors of the attacks and take samples. 
 
Rebels and the Syrian government have blamed each other for the killings of hundreds of civilians in the incidents. 
 
Western powers say they believe forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were responsible. Leaders of the United States, Britain and France have been discussing what action to take in response, raising the prospect of Western military intervention in Syria's two-year conflict. 
 
The foreign minister of Russia, a key Assad ally, said Western powers "cannot produce any evidence" that the Syrian government committed the alleged chemical attack. 
 
Speaking Monday, Sergei Lavrov accused the West of "hysteria" and warned that any military action against Damascus would be a "gross violation of international law."
 
The highest concentration of casualties from last Wednesday's attacks were reported in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta. It was not clear when the U.N. team would visit that location. 
 
As the inspectors arrived in Moadamiyeh, snipers fired at one of their vehicles, damaging it and forcing the team to return to a government checkpoint before heading inside the rebel district. No one was hurt. The Syrian government accused armed terrorists of targeting the inspectors. 
 
Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the success of the U.N. inspectors' mission could deter the future use of chemical weapons in Syria and elsewhere.
 
"All those in Syria have a stake in finding out the truth," Ban said.  "The whole world should be concerned about any threat or use of chemical weapons, and that is why the world is watching Syria." 
 
A senior Obama administration official said Sunday the U.N. team may not be able to accomplish much because the Syrian government prevented the inspectors from visiting the alleged attack sites for five days. 
 
The official said the delay meant available evidence had been "significantly corrupted as a result of the regime's persistent shelling and other intentional actions."

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid