U.N. To Investigate Alleged Chemical Weapon Use In Syria

United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky said France and Britain sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday asking for an investigation of three alleged chemical weapons attacks inside Syria.

George Ourfalian / Reuters

A man injured by chemical weapons smiles during the visit of Syrian government officials at a hospital in Aleppo, March 21, 2013.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations will investigate the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, which would amount to a crime against humanity, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Thursday.

The investigation could be broader than the Syrian government’s request for an independent probe of a purported chemical weapons attack on Tuesday. Ban said he was aware of allegations of other, similar attacks and hoped the probe would ultimately help secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The secretary-general said investigators would look into Syria’s allegation that rebels carried out a chemical weapons attack on Khan al-Assal village in northern Aleppo province. The rebels blamed regime forces for the attack.

A senior U.S. official, meanwhile, said Thursday that the United States now has strong indications that no chemical weapons were used at all in the attack. Officials won’t entirely rule out the possibility, but the official said additional intelligence-gathering has led the U.S. to believe more strongly that it was not a weaponized chemical attack. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Syrian government officials and military personnel visit victims of chemical weapons at a hospital in Aleppo, Syria.

George Ourfalian / Reuters
George Ourfalian / Reuters
George Ourfalian / Reuters
George Ourfalian / Reuters

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