Syria regime, rebels want probe of alleged chemical attack


Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's government and rebels are both demanding an international investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack.

There's still no confirmation of the nature of the attack that took place yesterday in a northern Syrian village, killing at least 31 people. Syria's government seals off areas it controls to journalists and outside observers. But the two sides have each blamed each other for a chemical attack there, without offering clear proof or documentation.

The U.S. ambassador to Syria says the Obama administration has no evidence that chemical weapons were used. But he told lawmakers that an increasingly desperate President Bashar Assad might be tempted to use his stockpile.

At the U.N., Syria's ambassador says he has asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to form a "specialized, independent and neutral technical mission" to investigate.

Syria's main opposition group also demanded an international investigation.

A U.N. spokesman isn't commenting until there's a formal request.

%@AP Links

163-w-33-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria)--The administration says there's no proof chemical weapons have been used in the civil war in Syria. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (20 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *163 (03/20/13)>> 00:33

161-a-14-(Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria, testifying before House Foreign affairs committee)-"at these reports"-U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says there's nothing to confirm reports that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons. (20 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *161 (03/20/13)>> 00:14 "at these reports"

APPHOTO BEI102: In this Tuesday March 19, 2013, citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, black smoke rise from buildings due to government forces shelling, in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's main opposition group demanded Wednesday a full international investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in the country's north, calling for a team to be sent to the village where it reportedly occurred. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC) (20 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO BEI102 (03/20/13)>>