TIME Syria

Chemical Weapons Inspectors Attacked in Syria

Local Committee of Arbeen/AP In this Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, members of the UN investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria

Inspectors and U.N. staff emerged alive

A convoy of chemical weapons inspectors and United Nations staff came under attack in Syria on Tuesday morning.

All staff emerged safe and were traveling back to their operating base, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement. The inspectors were traveling to the rebel-held village of Kafr Zaita, where alleged chlorine attacks took place. Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian government said the group had been kidnapped by “terrorists.” Bashar Assad’s government and the rebels had agreed to a one=day truce in the area.

OPCW director general, Ahmet Uzumcu, said both sides in Syria’s ongoing civil war have to provide safe access to inspectors. “Our inspectors are in Syria to establish the facts in relation to persistent allegations of chlorine gas attacks,” Uzumcu said. “Their safety is our primary concern.”

Western officials have recently raised the possibility that chlorine was used in a government attack. The Chemical Weapons Convention signed last year by Syria bans the use of common industrial chlorine gas as a chemical weapon.

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