MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – Two senior UN chemical weapons experts, tasked with investigating alleged chemical attacks in Syria, have arrived in Damascus to discuss details of their possible future inquiry, Western media reported on Wednesday.
Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom, who heads the UN fact-finding team, and UN High Representative for Disarmament Angela Kane arrived from neighboring Lebanon for a two-day visit on an invitation from the Syrian government. They are to meet with a number of high-ranking officials, including Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.
The aim of their visit is to prepare ground for the future investigation and to reach an agreement allowing UN experts to start their work.
The UN team of investigators had been unable to travel to Syria because of diplomatic wrangling over the scope of access they would have.
Syria said it was ready to grant the UN team access to the site of an alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan al-Assal, in Syria’s northern Aleppo province. The UN, however, wants to investigate other alleged attacks, including in Homs.
The Syrian government and opposition forces have traded allegations of chemical weapons use in the conflict, which has claimed nearly 100,000 lives since March 2011.
Earlier reports by foreign experts claimed that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on several occasions during the two-year conflict.