UN chief applauds creation of panel to probe chemical weapons use

The office of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the authorization from the UN Security Council to establish an investigative mechanism relating to chemical weapons use in Syria Thursday.

Members of the U.N. Joint Investigative Mechanism will consist of representatives from the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). They will be tasked with the identification of individuals or groups that are directly involved in using chemical weapons or toxic industrial chemicals in this manner in Syria. Its initial time frame will be for one year with the possibility of extensions. 

“The secretary-general, in close coordination with the director-general of the OPCW and all other relevant parties, shall, without delay, undertake all steps, measures and arrangements necessary for the speedy establishment and full functioning of the JIM,” a  Ki-moon spokesman said.

Doctors Without Borders (DWB) has reported several attacks on villages and towns in Syria where chlorine gas is believed to have been used as a weapon. Near the end of August, four people with signs of chemical exposure were treated at a DWB hospital in the country. DWB reported that 11 facilities have been targeted with barrel bombs over a period of several months.

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