May 30, 2013 in Nation/World

Chemicals, UN told, used in Syrian attacks

Associated Press
 
Assad to stay

Syria’s foreign minister laid out a hard line Wednesday, saying Bashar Assad will remain president at least until elections in 2014 and might seek another term, conditions that experts say will make it difficult for the opposition to agree to U.N.-sponsored talks on ending the civil war.

UNITED NATIONS – Britain said it has sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with new information on three further incidents of alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian government.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said Wednesday his government has continued to provide new information to the secretary-general and the head of the U.N. team Ban appointed to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The Syrian government asked Ban to investigate an alleged chemical weapons attack by rebels on March 19 on Khan al-Assal village in Aleppo, but insists that a probe be limited to that incident. Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed and injured in the incident, which the rebels blame on Syrian forces.

Ban is insisting on a broader investigation, including a December incident in Homs raised by Britain and France. He appointed Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom to lead a U.N. investigation. Syria has refused to allow his team into the country.

The U.K. Foreign Office said the letter was meant to draw Ban’s attention to three further allegations of chemical weapons use and ask that those be included in the U.N.’s investigation. Those allegations relate to incidents which reportedly took place in March and April of this year and which have been reported in the media, the Foreign Office added.

“The U.K. is extremely concerned about the ongoing allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria,” it said in a statement.

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