Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Albert Aji Bassem Mroue / The Associated Press
DAMASCUS, Syria — A U.N. spokesman says a vehicle belonging to a team investigating the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons has been "deliberately shot at multiple times" by unidentified snipers in Damascus.
Columns of smoke rise from heavy shelling in the Jobar neighborhood, east of Damascus Sunday. Syria reached an agreement with the United Nations to allow a U.N. team of experts to visit the site of alleged chemical weapons attacks last week outside Damascus, state media said.
Martin Nesirky, who is spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, says the Monday shooting occurred in the buffer zone area between rebel- and government-controlled territory.
He says the team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle.
The team plans to visit the site in the suburbs of Damascus where an alleged chemical weapon attack occurred last week, reportedly killing hundreds.
The United States has said that there is little doubt that Assad's regime was responsible for the attack on Aug. 21 in the capital's eastern suburbs. The group Doctors Without Borders said 355 people were killed in an artillery barrage by regime forces Wednesday that included the use of toxic gas.
Syrian activists and opposition leaders have said that between 322 and 1,300 people were killed in the alleged chemical attack on Wednesday.
Syria said Sunday that the U.N. team could investigate the site but a senior White House official dismissed the deal as "too late to be credible."