U.N., Syrian officials to meet on alleged use of chemical weapons

July 11, 2013 at 5:18 PM

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 (UPI) -- Two top U.N. officials said they will meet with Syrian officials as part of an investigation into Syria's alleged chemical weapons.

Ake Sellstrom, head of the U.N. fact-finding mission, and Angela Kane, the U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, agreed to accept the Syrian government's invitation to visit Damascus with hopes of reaching agreement on the type of cooperation needed to conduct a proper, safe and efficient investigation, the United Nations said Thursday in a release.

The focus of the mission, set up after a request from the Syrian government, is an incident involving the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Aleppo governorate.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeatedly called on Damascus to grant the U.N. team access to the country so it can carry out an on-the-ground investigation into the allegations.

As many as 100,000 people have been killed since fighting began in March 2011 between forces loyal to the Syrian government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Assad, the U.N. said.

Nearly 2 million people have fled to neighboring countries and 4 million people have been displaced internally.

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