UN chief receives report on Syria chemical weapons

United Nations, Sep 16 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Sunday received the report from the UN fact-finding group on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

He is set to brief the UN Security Council on the findings Monday, Xinhua reported citing UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

"The report by the United Nations Mission investigating allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic has been turned over to the secretary general," Nesirky said in a statement emailed to reporters.

"It was transmitted today, 15 September, to the secretary general by Professor Ake Sellstrom, the head of the mission, and the secretary-general will provide it to the member states tomorrow (Monday) morning," the spokesperson added.

"The secretary-general will brief the Security Council on the report during its closed consultations," he said.

Following his briefing at the 15-nation Security Council, Ban will speak to reporters.

The text of the report will be made available Monday morning on the website of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, which is http://www.un.org/disarmament/, the spokesperson added.

On Sep 2, samples collected by the UN team in Syria were transferred from The Hague to laboratories for analysis. They were from the site of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus, the Syrian capital, Aug 21. Over 1,000 people were alleged to have been killed.

The UN said the analyses would be conducted in laboratories in Europe "strictly adhering to the highest established standards of verification recognised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons."

The fact-finding group was created by the UN chief in March at the request of the Syrian government. The investigators were ordered out of the war-torn country Aug 31 to return to The Hague.

The team, which was initially set to investigate the alleged March 19 chemical attacks on Khan al-Asal in the northern province of Aleppo and two other undisclosed sites, arrived in Syria Aug 18, and later was told to travel to the Ghouta area.

The UN probe team is mandated to find out whether chemical weapons were used in the Middle East country, but not who used them.

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