U.N. inspectors delay Syria chemical weapons visit due to security concerns

U.N. inspectors looking into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria postponed a visit to a second site on Wednesday to ensure the team's safety.

The U.N. announced that the team was delayed on Tuesday by sniper fire but was able to return to the site later that day. No one was injured during the incident. The inspectors, led by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, are spending up to 14 days in Syria to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government at Khan al-Asal and two additional allegations reported by Member States.

"Considering the complexities of the site, confirmation of access has not been obtained but is expected later today," a U.N. spokesperson said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated on Wednesday that the team is in Syria to assist and requires the cooperation of all parties to fulfill a mandate given by U.N. Member States.

"It is in the interest of all sides to bring factual evidence and clarity to a situation which has brought great suffering to the people of Syria," Ban said.

The team may also look into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus in an attack that reportedly killed more than 300 civilians on August 21.

Ban formally requested that the Syrian government have permission and access to Ghouta to investigate the matter. He anticipates a positive response without delay.