UN Investigates Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria
(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The United Nations is investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria after reports of an attack in the suburbs of Damascus that killed at least 100 people Wednesday. A team is looking into the incident as well as two other allegations of chemical weapon use.
A spokesperson for U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the official is shocked to hear the reports, and use in any such attack would violate international human law. Professor Åke Sellström, head of the U.N.'s mission, is in discussions with the Syrian government regarding the use of chemical weapons. An unverified video released by Syrian activists shows children being hosed down, reportedly to get the chemicals off of them. Syrian leadership called the images of hundreds killed "fabricated."
The White House requested that the U.N. urgently investigate the allegations, with Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest saying the United States is "deeply concerned" over the reports. The U.S. has not independently verified the alleged attack, according to Earnest. "The Assad regime, when presented with evidence that chemical weapons have been used in their country, have said that they are interested in a credible investigation to get to the bottom of what exactly has happened," he said. "Well, it's time for them to live up to that claim."
Earnest also called on the Syrian government to allow the U.N. team access to the sites in question. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to discuss violence in Syria, as well as the situations in Egypt and Iran, according to Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. The two agreed to maintain dialogue on issues facing the U.S. and Israel. A year ago, President Obama warned Syrian leader Bashar Assad that any use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line."
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