On Monday the United Nations reported that UN inspectors who were in Syria to investigate allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own people were fired upon by unknown snipers, damaging one of their vehicles and forcing them to return to a Government checkpoint to obtain a new vehicle.
“The first vehicle of the Chemical Weapons Investigation Team was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area,” a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remarked in the press release.
“As the car was no longer serviceable, the Team returned safely back to the Government check-point. The Team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle.
“It has to be stressed again that all sides need to extend their cooperation so that the Team can safely carry out their important work,” the UN spokesman urged.
According to NBC News, the weapons inspectors were later able to procure another vehicle and have taken samples from the site of an alleged chemical weapon attack for further analysis.
The inspection team, led by chemical weapons expert Dr. Åke Sellström, is scheduled to spend two weeks in Syria investigation alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
Concerning the crisis in Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement to the press earlier on Monday, “If proven, any use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is a serious violation of international law and an outrageous crime. We cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity.”
Additional action against Syria by the United Nations, and the United States in particular, is awaiting confirmation of chemical weapon use. If chemical weapon use is confirmed, military action may be authorized by the United Nations, though Syrian ally Russia, a key member of the UN Security Council, has been pressing hard to minimize or neutralize any UN-sanctioned international intervention attempts.