UN wraps up it’s Syria probe

Posted by Admin On Wednesday, 2 October 2013 0 comments
UN experts wrapped up their investigation of alleged gas attacks in Syria on Monday, as a chemical weapons disarmament team arrived in neighbouring Lebanon ahead of their trip to Damascus.
President Bashar al-Assad has insisted Syria will comply with a UN resolution under which his regime must turn over its chemical weapons for destruction.
The UN Security Council is to begin talks Monday on a statement about the humanitarian crisis in Syria which could include a disputed call to allow cross-border missions, diplomats said.
On the ground in Syria, the violence continued, with regime forces launching air raids in the provinces of Homs and Aleppo, and a car bomb exploding in Damascus province. The UN team of chemical weapons experts, which is on its second mission to Syria to investigate seven alleged attacks, left Syria on Monday afternoon, crossing into Lebanon. The team has said it hopes to present a final report on the alleged attacks by late October.
Earlier this month it submitted an interim report that confirmed the use of the nerve agent sarin in an August 21 attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
The US threatened military action in response, accusing regime forces of deliberately killing hundreds of civilians with rocket-delivered nerve agents. Syria denied the allegations but agreed to relinquish its chemical arsenal to head off a strike under a US-Russian deal which was enshrined in a landmark UN resolution.
The team of 20 inspectors from the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons overseeing the agreement arrived in Lebanon on Monday, a day before heading to Syria.
The road between Damascus airport and the Syrian capital is the scene of frequent fighting, so the inspectors will travel by road from Beirut instead.
“At this point, we have absolutely no reason to doubt the information provided by the Syrian regime,” an OPCW official said Sunday. In his first comments since the UN resolution was passed on Friday, Assad on Sunday told Italy’s Rai News 24 his regime “will comply”. “Of course we will comply with it, and history proves that we have always honoured all treaties we have signed,” state news agency SANA quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, a mortar shell hit the Chinese embassy in Syria’s capital Damascus on Monday, damaging the building and wounding one person, Chinese state media reported. China’s state news agency Xinhua said opposition forces had launched the shell, which fell into the embassy and damaged doors and windows. A Syrian employee suffered minor injuries, it said, without adding details.
In Geneva, Syria’s neighbours pleaded Monday for more international support to deal with the huge influx of refugees from the war-ravaged country, warning the burden could destabilise the whole region. “We are calling on the international community to bear its responsibility,” Lebanon’s Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abu Faour told diplomats gathered in Geneva, acknowledging “a certain bitterness” over the lack of assistance from outside the region.
“The impact of the refugee influx on the societies, economies and communities of the host countries is immense,” warned UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. He demanded that the global community help Syria’s overstretched neighbours, which are already “going through huge demographic changes following the refugee influx, unsettling their social and economic fabric.”
The countries in the region may need direct budget support, as well as long-term development investment, Guterres said, stressing also that countries outside the region needed to take in some of the refugees.
“I call on all countries, particularly in Europe and the extended Middle East, to allow Syrians to access asylum and enjoy quality protection,” he said.


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