Daily Israel Report

Syria: UN Investigating Seven More Chemical Attacks

UN inspectors expand their investigation to include alleged incident both before and after August 21 attack on Damascus suburbs.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 9/27/2013, 3:23 PM

Ake Sellstrom stands outside a military hospital in Damascus
Ake Sellstrom stands outside a military hospital in Damascus
Reuters

UN weapons inspectors are launching investigations into three additional alleged chemical weapons attacks, in addition to their investigations surrounding a series of attacks in Damascus suburbs on August 21 which killed more than 1,000 people.

The additional alleged attacks took place between March 19 and August 25.

This latest development comes as a team of UN experts prepares to complete its mission in the country on Monday, as part of a plan to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. 

On Wednesday, UN chemical weapons inspectors returned to Syria to continue investigating allegations of chemical weapons use in the country’s two-and-a-half-year conflict. The UN team previously submitted a report which confirmed the use of sarin nerve agent in an August 21 poison gas attack outside the Syrian capital.

At the time of the August 21 attack, the inspectors had been in Damascus preparing to investigate three earlier cases of suspected chemical weapons use, including one in March in the northern town of Khan al-Assal. Ake Sellstrom, the head of the inspection team, said last week the inspectors would return to Syria to investigate the other suspected cases.

Meanwhile, American and Russia experts have voiced optimism over the Russian-initiated plan to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons program in order to fend off the prospect of western military intervention. 

According to a report by the Washington Post, experts estimate it could take as little as nine months to destroy Syria's entire chemical weapons arsenal, as most of it is not yet weaponized, and thus easier to safely dispose of.