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UN inspectors back in Syria to investigate chemical weapons

UN inspectors back in Syria to investigate chemical weapons
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United Nations inspectors have returned to Syria to continue investigating allegations that chemical weapons have been used in the civil war.

Last week they confirmed that the nerve gas sarin was used in an attack in August on a Damascus suburb which killed hundreds of people.

The inspectors plan to visit three other sites where chemical weapons are said to have been used.

Their report based on their inspections after last month’s attack led some western countries to blame the Syrian government.

Damascus denied the accusation and gave Russia evidence it said proved the rebels were behind the attack.

Moscow argues the blame game is pointless.

“I think that all sides who are parties to this Geneva agreement, they should concentrate on this goal, on the chemical disarmament of Syria. Because sometimes, when we hear some statements from the United States, the feeling is the United States are not so much interested in chemical weapons in Syria, they see it as a by-product of the main operation and the main operation is to bring down President Assad,” said Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs.

Turkey, one of Assad’s strongest critics and a key player in the region, argued at the UN that the Syrian leader should not be let off the hook.

“This conflict neither began with the use of chemical weapons, nor will it end with an agreement to eliminate them,” the Turkish President Abdullah Gül told the UN General Assembly in New York. “The agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal must not allow the regime to avoid responsibility for its other crimes.”

While the arguments over chemical weapons continue, so does the humanitarian crisis.

As more Syrians flee the fighting, King Abdullah of Jordan has said that the number of refugees in his country could top a million next year – equivalent to 20 percent of the population.

“Not even the strongest global economies could absorb this demand on infrastructure and resources, let alone a small economy and the fourth water-poorest country in the world,” he added.

The charity Save The Children has warned that millions of children in Syria are at risk of malnutrition.