Ban renews appeal to investigate alleged chemical weapon use in Syria

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed his appeal on Thursday for a ground-level investigation of the allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria, calling on Damascus to grant his plea.

"Dr. [Åke] Sellström and his team continue to collect and analyze information and material that have been made available by various Member States, for which I again express my deep appreciation," Ban said. "The validity of any information on the alleged use of chemical weapons cannot be ensured without convincing evidence of the chain-of-custody."

Ban launched a fact-finding mission, headed by Swedish scientist Sellström, after a request from the Syrian Government. If granted access into the country, Ban plans to begin investigating chemical weapon use in Kfar Dael, a region in Khan Al-Asal in the Aleppo governorate.

Ban also commented on what the U.N. is doing to bring peace to the region. Ban and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi are trying to bring both Assad and opposition forces to the negotiating table in Geneva "as soon as possible." Russian and U.S. officials proposed the idea and are aiding in its organization.

Ban urged each Member State to uphold its responsibilities to seek a resolution to the Syrian crisis. Ban also said he believes there is no military solution to the conflict, although the Syrian forces may disagree.

"The military path points directly towards the further disintegration of the country, destabilization of the region and inflammation of religious and communal tensions," Ban said.

The crisis has caused more than 93,000 casualties, 1.5 million people displaced and 6.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid.