UK says informs UN of more Syria chemical attacks

Britain informs use of suspected chemical weapons by Syrian government in March and April.

May 29, 2013 18:41
1 minute read.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a news conference in Andorra April 2, 2013.

Ban Ki moon *concerned, thinking* 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Albert Gea)

UNITED NATIONS - Britain has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about additional suspected chemical weapons attacks by Syrian government forces in March and April, Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said on Wednesday.

"We continue to inform the Secretary-General and Mr. Sellstrom of any information as, and when, we get it," he said, referring to the Swedish head of a UN chemical weapons investigation team, Ake Sellstrom.

A senior French official said on Monday that France was testing samples of suspected chemical weapon elements used against Syrian rebel fighters and smuggled out by reporters from Le Monde newspaper and will divulge the results in the next few days.

Britain and France wrote to Ban earlier this year to urge him to launch an investigation into three alleged chemical weapons attacks in the vicinity of Homs, Damascus and Aleppo.

A senior UN official said last week that the world body was receiving increasing reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria's two-year civil war as the violence escalates.

Sellstrom's team of chemical weapons experts has been ready for more than a month to enter Syria to investigate the allegations but has been held up by diplomatic wrangling and safety concerns.

Ban has urged Syria to give the experts unfettered access to investigate all alleged chemical arms incidents. But Assad's government only wants the UN team to probe the Aleppo incident from March, not the alleged December Homs attack. UN diplomats say UN-Syria negotiations on access have reached a deadlock.

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