UN investigation in Syria

Updated: 2013-08-26 09:40

(China Daily)

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With the Syrian government gesturing on Saturday that it will allow United Nations inspectors access to the site near Damascus where it is alleged chemical weapons were used, the international community should throw its weight behind the UN so that its inspectors can produce a report on the issue through a justifiable investigation.

On Wednesday, three days after the arrival of UN inspectors in Syria, pro-opposition activists in Syria posted gruesome photos and video alleging that Syrian government troops used chemical weapons when attacking rebel-held areas east of Damascus.

The allegation has made the UN experts' mission in Syria even more important and urgent.

Especially as there have been previous claims alleging both the Syrian government and the opposition have employed chemical weapons.

The international community is fully justified in responding strongly to any alleged use of chemical weapons, as there is a long-standing consensus against their use.

The UN inspection mission should be given the chance to clarify whether or not chemical weapons have been used. It is essential that the Syrian government and the opposition fully cooperate with the UN.

If the UN inspectors find that chemical weapons have been used, whoever they are, the offenders will be condemned and opposed in the strongest terms.

But before the UN inspection mission reaches a conclusion, it is irresponsible as well as hotheaded for some countries to use the allegation as an excuse for military intervention.

It is, therefore, a relief that the United States, which deems the use of chemical weapons as a red line, has so far exercised caution on maneuvering for military action in Syria. Washington should be aware that the prospects for any direct military intervention in Syria are by no means optimistic, as the situation in Syria differs greatly from that in Libya in 2011.

It is important that the UN inspection mission arrives at an impartial conclusion, backed up by evidence, as to whether or not chemical weapons have been used at an early date so that the world does not point an accusing finger at the wrong party.