U.S. encourages Syria to give full access to U.N. chemical weapons team

Following recent reports that the Syrian army used sarin gas, the U.S. continues to encourage Syria to give the U.N. chemical weapons investigation team full access, the State Department said on Thursday.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement during her daily press briefing on Thursday. Psaki responded to a question about a recent report that the Syrian army used sarin gas near the Yarmouk refugee camp. She said the U.S. still needed to look into the allegations, but she reiterated that Syria must allow the U.N. full access to sites where chemical weapons attacks potentially took place.

"We're always concerned about any allegations of chemical weapons use," Psaki said. "We don't - we're still looking into the specifics here. As always, we continue to encourage the Syrian regime to let the full - the U.N. team in for full access to investigate all potential cases, but we don't have any additional information on these particular reports."

Psaki said the U.S. remains committed to helping Syrians negotiate a political settlement along the lines of the June 2012 Geneva communique. Ambassador Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, was in France on Thursday and Friday to meet with members of the Syrian opposition.

When asked if a date for the next Geneva conference could come out out bilateral meetings between U.S. and Russia on Friday, Psaki said the date is ultimately up to the Syrians.

"Though the United States and Russia both play important roles here, it's ultimately up to the Syrians and both sides to commit to a path forward," Psaki said. "So there are a number of players. We still need to work through, of course, remaining issues, including attendants, and we're working with the U.N. through that as well."