Swedish scientist to lead UN chemical weapons probe in Syria
Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:52PM
Syrian media say dozens of people have been killed and nearly 140 more injured in the chemical attack.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has named Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom as the head of the mission tasked with probing the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"He is an accomplished scientist with a solid background in disarmament and international security," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on Tuesday.The fact-finding team was set up at the request of the Syrian government. Damascus has accused foreign-backed militants of using chemical weapons against civilians near the northern city of Aleppo. Syrian media say dozens of people have been killed and nearly 140 more injured in the chemical attack. Anti-government militants have rejected the allegation. They have instead blame the government for the killings. Russia has already said any investigation regarding the issue should focus on Syria’s claim that the chemicals were used by the militants. On December 17, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Ja’afari said in letters to the UN Security Council and the UN secretary general that the foreign-sponsored militants could use chemical weapons against Syrians and try to shift the blame to the government. Damascus is "genuinely worried" that Syria’s enemies could provide chemical weapons to armed groups "and then claim they had been used by the Syrian government," Ja’afari stated. The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. GJH/AS