Aug 26, 2013

By Jane Brown

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U.N. inspectors appear to be risking their lives in getting to a suburb of Damascus to investigate whether Syrian government forces used chemical weapons on civilians caught up in the civil war.  A United Nations spokesman says a vehicle belonging to the team has been deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in Syria’s capital.  Martin Nesirky, who is a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, says today’s shooting happened in the buffer zone area between rebel and government controlled territory.  He says the team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spent the weekend working the phones, talking to other world leaders about the alleged chemical attacks. Harper spoke with his French and British counterparts, while Baird spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Hague says the U-N inspectors may not find any evidence of chemical weapons because Syrian forces may have taken care of any proof.  “They have continued to bombard with artillery, the areas concerned east of Damascus, which of course, may have destroyed some of the evidence.”

The humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, says the attack last Wednesday killed 355 Syrian civilians.

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