UN team assembles in Hague for Syria weapons probe

United Nations, August 2 (IANS) A UN team tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria is assembling in The Hague and will travel to Syria within the next few days, the UN has said.

"In addition to the head of the mission, the team will consist of about 10 experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization," Xinhua quoted UN spokesman Martin Nesirky as saying.

"The team will depart for Syria as soon as practical and is preparing to depart within days," Nesirky said.

Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was asked by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to set up the fact-finding team in March to investigate claims of chemical weapons use in the Syrian conflict.

The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons and both have denied it.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria, according to the UN secretary general. Another 1.7 million Syrians have been forced to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

Britain-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 2,000 people have died since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, BBC reported.

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