Syria petitions United Nations

Posted By Horizon Staff March 28th, 2013 in News : 0 COMMENTS

Jonathan Puckett
Staff writer

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom has been chosen to head an investigation into recent allegations that Syria has been attacked with chemical weapons, reports Reuters. On Wednesday, March 20, Syrian officials petitioned the United Nations to launch an independent investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack by the rebels located in northern Syria.

The Syrian rebels have denied the use of chemical weapons during the two-year civil war.  Instead, they claim that the government unleashed a missile attack on the northern village of Khan al-Assal in the Aleppo province, also demanding an international investigation in turn, reported USA Today.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky has said of Sellstrom, “He is an accomplished scientist with a solid background in disarmament and international security,” reports Reuters. He is intending to get to the bottom of who may have used what in an attack within Syria, whether it be the rebels or the authorities.

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to form a specialized independent and neutral technical mission to investigate the use by the terrorist group operating in Syria of chemical weapons [Tuesday] against civilians in the town of Khan al-Assal in Aleppo, reported USA Today.  The “terrorist group” referred to by Ja’afari is the rebel opposition group operating out of northern Syria and is accused of killing 31 people and wounding over 100 others in Tuesday’s attack.

According to Martin Nesirky, U.N. spokesman, the Secretary-General is currently studying the written request from Ja’afari and is convinced that if any party used chemical weapons in Syria, it “would constitute an outrageous crime” (USA Today).

Ja’afari stated that “the Syrian government, if it has such weapons, will never use it against its own population” and reminded reporters that Syria is a supporter of the majority of United Nations conventions and regulations on weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.  In addition, when they held a seat on the Security Council in 2003, Syria proposed a resolution that would have mandated that the Middle East be a WMD free zone.  Ja’afari claims that the resolution was blocked by a veto from an “influential member,” a reference to the United States, a close ally of Israel (USA Today).

Currently, the United Nations is appealing to all parties to ensure safe passage for humanitarian aid to Syria at this time. Due to the current security situations in Syria, convoys have recently been delayed or cancelled, depriving many refugees of aid, reports the United Nations. The UN is estimating that more than 3.6 million Syrians are currently displaced from their homes due to the conflict that began in Syria over two years ago.

Adrian Edwards, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has reported that “seven trucks loaded with 130 tons of aid arrived on Mar 18, and the UN World Food Program recently sent four trucks with 5,000 food baskets,” reports the United Nations News Center.

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