Syria is restricting a United Nations probe into the suspected use of chemical weapons to one northern village, claiming that anything more amounts to a violation of sovereignty, according to the Associated Press.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that UN investigators were waiting in Cyrpus for the go-ahead from Damascus, reported Reuters, adding that the agency will look into all reports of chemical warfare during its fact-finding mission there, according to AP.
Not so fast, Ban. Damascus was quick to block the move by way of a Foreign Ministry statement granting permits for investigations only into the northern village of Khan al-Assal, where violence took the lives of at least 13 people on March 19, said AP.
Anything more, the statement said, would be seen as “a violation of Syrian sovereignty.”
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But there is more. Government forces and anti-government rebels traded accusations over the use of chemical weapons in the country last month, leading both sides to call for an independent UN investigation, but the charges were not limited to Khan al-Assal.
For example, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Syria's main opposition group, accused the government of using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Ataybah, according to The New York Times.
The flare-up come amid ongoing violence between the two groups fighting for control of the country, a conflict that the UN says has taken an estimated 70,000 lives.