Ban Ki-Moon 311 Reuters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on
Thursday announced that the United Nations will launch an investigation as
requested by the Syrian government into allegations that chemical weapons were
used in Syria.
"I have decided to conduct a United Nations investigation
into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria," Ban told reporters. He said
the investigation will focus on "the specific incident brought to my attention
by the Syrian government." Syria asked Ban on Wednesday to investigate an
alleged chemical weapons attack by "terrorist groups" near the northern city of
Aleppo on Tuesday, Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said.
Syrian opposition said on Wednesday that there was a second chemical weapons
attack on Tuesday in Damascus in addition to the one the government and
opposition accuse each other of carrying out in Aleppo on the same
But Ban made clear that the focus of the investigation he announced
would be the Aleppo attack.
"I am of course aware that there are other
allegations of similar cases involving the reported use of chemical weapons," he
said, adding that the United Nations would be cooperating with the Organization
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organization
"Full cooperation from all parties will be essential. I stress
that this includes unfettered access," he said. "I reiterated this point in my
communications with the Syrian authorities." "There is much work to do and this
will not happen overnight, it is obviously a difficult mission," Ban said. "I
intend for this investigation to start as soon as is practically possible."