(NEW YORK) — Syria tried turning the tables on the international community Tuesday by alleging a number of “influential countries” are responsible for the failure to send United Nations inspectors to check on accusations of chemical weapons use in the conflict between government forces and rebel fighters.
Earlier in the week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Bashar al-Assad’s government to allow the inspectors into Syria as the U.S., Israel, Britain and France have all pointed to evidence of deadly toxins being used against civilians.
However, Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York that Damascus is more than willing to accept the inspectors, provided they concentrate on just one site of alleged chemical weapons use.
The Syrian government contends it was the opposition that attacked civilians last March — a charge denied by activists.
Syria has balked at letting the inspectors into the country after the U.N. insisted that sites of alleged attacks in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs also be examined. The inspectors have remained in Cypress over the past six weeks, waiting for further instructions.
Ja’afari says that if there is credible evidence of chemical weapons used in Khan Asal, his government “might examine the possibility of asking for a further investigation.”
Meanwhile, the envoy wouldn’t answer directly whether his government possesses chemical weapons, saying al-Assad would never use them on his own people.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Barbara Starr, CNN