Ban appeals to all sides in Syria to support chemical weapons team

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all sides in the Syrian conflict on Wednesday to support the U.N. chemical weapons investigation team as it collects samples in Syria.

The U.N. team visited several locations in the Damascus suburbs on Wednesday, including multiple impact sites, where the team collected samples and additional information.

The team needed to pause its investigation on Tuesday when its convoy was attacked by snipers while traveling to the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. According to Ban's spokesperson, the team was able to carry out its work on Wednesday without incident.

"The secretary-general appeals to all sides to allow the mission to continue its important work," the spokesperson said. "(The evidence collected) is crucial for its unique ability to establish the facts of the matter in an impartial and fact-based manner."

The team, led by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, is spending up to 14 days in Syria to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Asal and other allegations reported by Member States. The investigators will also look into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the attack that occurred in Ghouta on August 21.

The inspection team includes staff from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. World Health Organization.