With logistics complete, UN chemical weapons investigators await go-ahead from Syria

This family fled from the Syrian town of Qusayr. Photo: UNHCR/A. Blazy

13 August 2013 – The United Nations team probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has completed all the necessary logistical arrangements for its visit to the country and is now awaiting the Government’s acceptance of the modalities for the mission, the world body announced today.

The investigation team, led by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, completed the logistical arrangements over the weekend, according to a UN spokesperson.

In the meantime, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, has continued her consultations with Damascus with a view to reaching agreement as soon as possible on the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission.

“Once the Government of Syria confirms its acceptance of the modalities, the mission will depart without delay,” said the spokesperson.

The fact-finding mission was launched by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this year following a formal request from the Syrian Government.

Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad, more than 100,000 people have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced. In addition, at least 6.8 million Syrian require urgent humanitarian assistance.

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