(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Following months of delays, United Nations inspectors arrived in Damascus on Sunday to begin their probe of alleged chemical weapons use during the Syrian conflict.
If all goes according to plan, the inspectors, along with members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will try to ascertain what happened in Khan al-Assal and two other unspecified sites.
Their mission is simply to dig up evidence of chemical weapons use. The U.N. team won’t determine who was responsible for the alleged attacks.
Both the Syrian government and opposition groups have accused the other of deploying chemical agents, including the deadly toxin sarin, during the war.
The inspectors were ready to head to Syria last April, but President Bashar al-Assad’s regime delayed their arrival time and time again over what sites would be accessible to the U.N. team.
More recently, the hold-up was over whether the government could provide adequate security, given how virtually every region of Syria is now considered unsafe.
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Sheena McKenzie, CNN
Dave Gilbert, CNN
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN
Rafael Romo and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN