U.N. chemical weapons team attacked by snipers in Damascus

The first vehicle of United Nations chemical weapons investigation team was deliberately shot at multiple times by snipers in Damascus, Syria, the U.N. said on Monday.

The unidentified snipers targeted the vehicle in a buffer zone area of Damascus. The team was in Syria to conduct its investigation of chemical weapon use during the conflict between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition.

"I just spoke to my Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament, Ms. Angela Kane, who is now in Damascus to oversee the investigation," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The first day of investigation was carried out by Dr. (Ake) Sellstrom and his team. What I am told at this time is that their vehicle was attacked by an unknown sniper, but despite such very difficult circumstances, our team returned to Damascus and replaced their car and proceeded to a suburb of Damascus to carry on their investigation."

While visiting the Damascus suburb, the team visited two hospitals and interviewed survivors, witnesses and doctors. The team members also collected samples before returning to Damascus.

"I have instructed Angela Kane to register a strong complaint to the Syrian government and authorities of opposition forces so that this will never happen and the safety and security of the investigation teams will be secured from tomorrow," Ban said.

Ban's spokesperson stressed that all sides must extend their cooperation so the investigative team can safely carry out its necessary work.