Samples from alleged chemical weapon use sites to reach labs within hours

Samples collected by the U.N chemical weapons inspection team in Syria were transferred from The Hague to laboratories for analysis, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.

The spokesperson said the samples would reach the laboratories just hours after the statement was issued.

"Since the return of the mission last Saturday, the U.N. team worked around the clock to finalize the preparations of the samples in view of their shipment to the designated laboratories," the spokesperson said. "The samples were shipped this afternoon from The Hague and will reach their destination within hours."

The spokesperson said the analyses of the samples would be conducted immediately and would strictly adhere to the highest standards of verification established by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Upon completion of the analysis, Ban will receive a report and share the results with the U.N.'s 193 Member States and the 15-member Security Council. Ban was in close contact with the five permanent council members and planned to brief the 10 non-permanent members of the council on Tuesday morning.

U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane also planned to brief Member States on Tuesday to honor their request to learn more about the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21. The inspection team investigated the site and team leader Åke Sellström spoke with Ban on Sunday about the results.