Arab League urges UN inspect Syria attack site ‘immediately’

CAIRO, Aug 21, 2013 (AFP)

The Arab League called Wednesday on UN chemical weapons inspectors now in Syria to immediately visit the site of an alleged new chemical weapons attack outside Damascus.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged the inspectors in a statement to “go immediately to Eastern Ghouta to see the reality of the situation and investigate the circumstances of this crime.”

The statement came after an attack in the area outside the Syrian capital, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said killed at least 100 people, without mentioning the use of chemical weapons.

However, the opposition Syrian National Coalition claimed that 650 people had died in a chemical attack.

The Syrian authorities immediately denied that the army had used chemical weapons, saying the reports were intended to hinder the mission of UN inspectors.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon insisted Monday that the inspectors be granted unrestricted access to Syrian sites where chemical weapons have allegedly been used in the country’s 29-month-old conflict.

The inspectors were expected to visit three sites, including Khan al-Assal near Aleppo in the north.

They are due to be in Syria for 14 days, with the possibility for an extension of the mission.

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