Syria opposition demands urgent U.N. probe into alleged chemical attacks

by
August 22, 2013

BEIRUT/AMMAN | Syria’s opposition demanded on Thursday that United Nations chemical weapons inspectors immediately investigate a besieged rebel-held region hit by an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people a day earlier.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the international community needed to respond with force if the allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical attack on civilians proved true, although there was no question of sending troops on the ground.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have continued a heavy bombardment of the ring of rebel-held suburbs around the capital, known as the Ghouta region, which activists say will further hinder U.N. investigators from entering the area, only a few kilometers from where the team’s Damascus hotel.

“We are asking for this team to go directly, with complete freedom … to the site of the crimes which took place yesterday,” George Sabra, a prominent member of the umbrella opposition’s National Coalition, told Reuters.

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