News / Middle East

UN Chemical Weapons Team Visits Damascus Suburb

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 visited a Damascus suburb to meet victims of suspected chemical weapon attacks, after the Syrian government accepted international demands to grant access to the team.

The inspectors spent several hours in the southwestern suburb of Moadamiyeh on Monday, before returning to their hotel in the capital. Moadamiyeh is one of several rebel-held districts where the August 21 attacks took place.

The U.N. team met with doctors and survivors of the attacks at a makeshift hospital and took samples. U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the inspectors were satisfied with the meetings and planned to make another visit to an attack site on Tuesday. 

Syrian rebels and the government have blamed one another 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 attacks.

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."

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said any action will be taken "in concert with the international community and within the framework of legal justification."  He made the comment on a visit to Indonesia.

The highest concentration of casualties from last Wednesday's attacks was 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 and rebels accused one another of responsibility.

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.  The whole world should be concerned about any threat or use of chemical weapons, and that is why the world is watching Syria," he said.

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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Announce Breakthrough on Nuclear Deal

Deal resolves differences over liability of suppliers to India in event of a nuclear accident, U.S. demands on tracking whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous from: Russia!
August 26, 2013 2:28 PM
Hands off from Syria!


by: Igor from: Russia
August 26, 2013 12:02 PM
Western powers say they believe forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were responsible but they have no evidence. So their belief is groundless. Any of their military action ag,ainst Syria can be considered a crime and must be punished by Russia and its allies. It is high time for Russia to teach the USA and its allies a never-to-be-forgotten leason.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid