UN inspectors to leave Syria on Saturday

UN inspectors finish collecting samples from site, wounded of chemical attack in Damascus. Expected to leave on Saturday, UN spokesman says.

A team of UN investigators has finished gathering samples and evidence related to a the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in suburbs near Damascus last week and is packing up to leave, a UN spokesman said on Friday.


The team will be leaving Syria on Saturday, but will return later to investigate several other alleged poison gas attacks that have taken place in Syria during the country's 2-1/2 year old civil war, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.


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Earlier, Lebanese media reported the UN inspectors are on their way to the Beirut International Airport.

The Lebanese news website a-Nashra reported the inspectors reached the Syria-Lebanon border a short while ago after completing their mission.


However, the Al-Arabiya network reported that the inspectors were supposed to leave on Saturday. The Syrian Foreign Ministry also denied the report.


Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama consulted Friday morning with his national security team on the Syrian issue, a senior administration member told AFP.


Later this evening State Secretary John Kerry is expected to give an announcement, most likely to include some details from the intelligence report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.


At the same time as Kerry's announcement, the Syrian issue will be discussed also in UN Chief Ban Ki-moon's meeting with representatives of the permanent members of the Security Council.


Earlier, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that "There's no doubt that chemical weapons were used. Any careful review of the facts leads to the conclusion that the regime was behind this."


According to him, "the ongoing deliberations in Washington are not around the question of whether chemical weapons were used or whether the regime was responsible. The deliberations are about what the appropriate response will be and there will be a response."


US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the United States will continue to seek out an international coalition to act together on Syria, after Britain's parliament rejected military action.


"It is the goal of President (Barack) Obama and our government ... whatever decision is taken, that it be an international collaboration and effort," Hagel said


British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday he regretted the failure of the British parliament to support military action in Syria but that he hoped President Obama would understand the need to listen to the wishes of the people.


"I think the American public, the American people and President Obama will understand," Cameron said. "I haven't spoken to him (Obama) since the debate and the vote but I would expect to speak to him over the next day or so. I don't think it's a question of having to apologies," he added.


At the same time, residents from around Aleppo in northern Syria, suffering from burns caused by an incendiary bomb similar to napalm, were shown in a BBC network broadcast.


According to the report, the school bombing killed 10 people and injured many more.



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פרסום ראשון: 08.30.13, 18:57
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