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UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – U.N. experts have finished their work in Syria and will “expedite” a report on whether chemical weapons have been used in the country’s conflict, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Friday.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is ready to brief the U.N. Security Council on the investigation into a suspected chemical weapons attack this weekend if needed, the spokesman told a briefing.

While the United States and its allies are considering a military strike on Syria in response to the August 21 attack, no country has yet requested a Security Council meeting.

Ban explained progress made by the inspection team in a meeting with U.N. ambassadors from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

“The team has completed its collection of samples and evidence,” Nesirky told reporters. “They are now packing up, they will be leaving Damascus and leaving Syria tomorrow.”

U.N. disarmament envoy Angela Kane left Damascus on Friday and will brief Ban in New York on Saturday, the spokesman added. Interpreters and other backup staff with the U.N. team also left on Friday, he said.

The 13 experts led by Ake Sellstrom are to take samples taken from the site of the alleged attack at Ghouta, near Damascus, to laboratories in Europe.

“Dr Sellstrom’s team is doing its utmost to expedite the process of analysis,” Nesirky said while stressing “the need for rigorous attention to maintain the integrity of the process.”

The spokesman said that the eventual report written by the inspection team would be given to all U.N. member states.

Photo Credit: AFP/Ammar al-Arbini


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