Aug 23, 2013

By Jane Brown

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U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the alleged chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital needs to be investigated without delay. “I’m especially troubled by reports that chemical weapons might have been used on the civilian populations,” he said, “Any use of chemical weapons, anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law.”

The U.N. Secretary General is also sending disarmament chief Angela Kane to Damascus to press for an investigation.  Russia’s Foreign Minister is also calling for an independent probe by U-N experts into the alleged chemical attack.  Russia is a key ally of Bashar Assad as he battles rebels who’ve been trying for more than two years to topple him as President.  There is no sign yet Damascus will allow the U.N. inspection team to visit the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack.

Meantime, U.N. agencies say the number of children forced to feel Syria has reached one million.  The U.N.’s refugee agency and UNICEF described the figure as a “shameful milestone”, saying a further two million children are displaced within the country.  Activists say hundreds were killed in Wednesday’s apparent attack on the Ghouta area of Damascus.  The Syrian government has described the allegations of chemical weapons’ use as illogical and fabricated.

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