U.N. chemical weapons team returns to Syria

The U.N. team looking into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria planned to return to the country on Wednesday to complete an investigation of pending credible allegations.

A U.N. spokesperson said the team will look into such incidents as the March 19 attack at Khan al-Asal. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the team in March and appointed Swedish scientist Åke Sellström to lead the investigation.

The team visited Syria in August with assistance from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization. The team found clear and convincing evidence that sarin gas was used in an incident that occurred on Aug. 21 in the Ghouta area of Damascus. Hundreds of people were reportedly killed in the attack.

In the last several weeks, Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The U.N. spokesperson said the OPCW has not shared information about Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles with the U.N. or the investigative team.

The spokesperson said the responsibility of verifying the inventory and eliminating Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles falls on Syria and that the task was beyond the scope of the U.N. team's mandate, which is the investigation of allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria.