Question Details

Will UN chemical weapons inspectors investigate the use of chemical weapons near Damascus?

Will UN chemical weapons inspectors investigate the use of chemical weapons near Damascus?

Asked by: Super Userkruijs in Politics » Middle East
Settled on 08/25/2013 21:18 Settled by Super Userkruijs
Winning option:Yes U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s office said Sunday that U.N. experts would conduct an inspection Monday at the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, as top lawmakers said the time has come for a U.S. military response.

The Obama administration said there is “very little doubt” that chemical weapons were used in the Damascus suburbs last week, and blamed the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A senior administration official also said that the U.N. inspection comes too late, and suggested the Assad regime has deliberately tried to foil inspection by continued shelling of the affected area.



Exactly a year ago, President Barack Obama declared that if Syria’s regime were to unleash its chemical weapons - or even move them - America’s “red line” would be crossed and the whole “calculus” would change.

If hundreds of people were indeed gassed near Damascus yesterday, President Bashar al-Assad will have marked the first anniversary of that warning by stepping straight over Mr Obama’s “red line”.

Last month, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told the foreign affairs select committee: “I believe that the Assad regime, given the pattern of events, has at some stage over the last six months or a year given authority for the use of chemical weapons in a small-scale, localised way.”

Well, if the latest reports are true, Mr Assad has now used gas on a bigger scale than anyone else since Saddam Hussein. If so, he is not so much testing America’s “red line” as ignoring it completely and daring his enemies to do their worst.

As Senator John McCain observed, Mr Assad has suffered “no consequence” for using chemical weapons in the past, so “we shouldn’t be surprised he’s using them again”.

Find similar: syria, usa, un, chemical weapons


Comment on this question:

Sign in to comment

   Super Userkruijs

Weapons inspectors investigating an alleged chemical attack in Damascus have been shot at by snipers, a UN spokesman has said.

The team's lead vehicle was "deliberately shot at multiple times" as they visited a suburb of the city where hundreds of people were allegedly killed.

None of the inspectors, who were dressed in body armour, are believed to have been injured in the shooting, which came after two mortar bombs landed close to their hotel.

   Super Userkruijs

Syrian state media accused rebels of using chemical arms against government troops in clashes Saturday near Damascus, while an international aid group said it has tallied 355 deaths from a purported chemical weapons attack earlier this week.

Doctors Without Borders said three hospitals it supports in the eastern Damascus region reported receiving roughly 3,600 patients with "neurotoxic symptoms" over less than three hours on Wednesday morning, when the attack in the eastern Ghouta area took place.

Of those, 355 died, said the Paris-based group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that its estimated death toll from the alleged chemical attack reached 322, including 54 children, 82 women and dozens of fighters. It said the dead included 16 who have not been identified.

The Observatory's earlier death toll was 136, saying it was raised after its activists in the stricken areas met doctors, residents and saw medical reports. It said the dead "fell in the massacre committed by the Syrian regime."

   Super Userkruijs

The United States said on Thursday it was unable to conclusively say that chemical weapons were used in an alleged deadly gas attack near Damascus, and U.S. President Barack Obama has directed U.S. intelligence agencies to urgently help verify allegations.

"At this time, right now, we are unable to conclusively determine CW (chemical weapons) use," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. "We are doing everything possible in our power to nail down the facts," she added.

She said Obama had instructed the U.S. intelligence community to look into what happened.

   Super Userkruijs

The United Nations and the United States are calling for an immediate investigation of Syrian activists' claims that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians.

Anti-regime activist groups in Syria say more than 1,300 people were killed in the attack outside Damascus, many of them women and children. Video footage and witness reports appeared to bolster claims that chemical weapons were used.

President Obama has directed the U.S. intelligence community to urgently gather additional information to try to assess whether chemical weapons were used Wednesday in Syria, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

Ban Ki-moon said the alleged incidents Wednesday need to be probed "without delay."

Ban urged a Damascus-based team "to be granted permission and access to swiftly investigate the incident" and the United Nations is sending a formal request to Syria.

"He expects to receive a positive response without delay," his spokesperson said in a statement.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the matter is "of utmost urgency" and the "allegations are exceptionally grave."

What's This!?

  • This is a user submitted question. Players make predictions on what they expect to be the actual outcome.


  • Register for free and get 1,000 KtN$
    in virtual cash to start predicting!

  • Limited offer: Sign up today and recieve double cash!