01-10-2016 03:03 PM Jerusalem Timing

Security Concerns Force UN Inspectors to Delay Second Site Visit

Security Concerns Force UN Inspectors to Delay Second Site Visit

The United Nations inspectors probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria postponed a visit to a second site today in order to improve preparedness and ensure the team’s safety

United Nations mission head to probe chemical use in Syria, Ake SellströmThe United Nations inspectors probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria postponed a visit to a second site Tuesday in order to improve preparedness and ensure the team's safety, the world body announced this afternoon.

“Considering the complexities of the site, confirmation of access has not been obtained but is expected later today,” a UN spokesperson told journalists.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated that the Organization is in Syria to assist, but that it needs the cooperation of all in order to fulfill the mandate given by UN Member States.

He once again urged all sides in the conflict to give safe passage and access to the Team.

“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 in a note to journalists.

The team, led by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, was delayed yesterday by sniper fire but was able to return to the original site later in the day. No one was hurt during the incident.

Ban had said that the UN will register a strong complaint with the Government and opposition authorities about an attack “so the safety of the investigation team will be secured.”

The Team is spending up to 14 days, with a possible extension, probing the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government at Khan al-Asal, as well as two other allegations reported by Member States. The team is working in cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).