U.N. sees Syrian support for inspectors

March 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (UPI) -- The Syrian government said it was willing to cooperate with a U.N. team investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons, the United Nations said.

The Syrian government submitted a request to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a formal investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons by anti-government forces in Aleppo. Ban said he was aware of other claims of chemical weapon use in the country, however.

A statement for the United Nations said the Syrian government confirmed its "desire to cooperate" with U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane.

The United Nations said it was waiting to receive confirmation of inspection plans that would determine when inspectors can get inside the country.

Ban this week appointed former Iraqi weapons inspector Ake Sellstrom to lead a mission to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons.

Syrian civil is in its third year. The United Nations estimates that at least 70,000 people have died in the conflict and more than 1 million people were displaced.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said this week the inspection was focused on the possible use of chemical weapons, adding it wasn't a criminal probe.

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