The United Nations investigators have reached the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack near the Syrian capital, taking samples from victims.
On Monday, the UN inspectors entered Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya, one of at least four neighborhoods allegedly hit by poison gas last week, to gather evidence. They took blood samples and interviewed medical staff during a visit which lasted almost three hours. Opposition activists say UN inspectors went to a field hospital run by Red Crescent, where victims of the alleged attack are still being treated. According to UN sources, the inspectors visited two hospitals in the area and interviewed witnesses, survivors and doctors. Mouadamiya inspection comes hours after the UN inspectors were forced to pull back after unknown snipers shot multiple times at their convoy shortly after they left their hotel. But the UN team resumed its mission shortly after the attack. The UN says the convoy was "deliberately targeted" and it seemed someone was trying to intimidate the inspectors. Damascus blames foreign-backed militants for the attack on the UN convoy. The 20-member UN inspection team is excepted to resume its work on Tuesday. Hundreds of people were killed and scores of others injured in a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar on August 21. Both the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition accuse each other of being behind the deadly attack. The Damascus government, however, has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation. In March, dozens of people were killed in a chemical attack in the northern province of Aleppo. A Russian-led inquiry said that militants were behind the deadly attack.