The UN team of chemical weapons inspectors is due to begin a second day of investigation into an alleged attack near the Syrian capital Damascus.
The 20-member UN team led by Swedish expert Aake Sellstroem will begin their second day of probe on Tuesday. On Monday, snipers fired multiple shots at the team of inspectors as they tried to visit an area west of Damascus, forcing them to suspend their mission. Damascus blamed foreign-backed militants for the attack, saying they're trying to force UN experts to cancel their work. UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters the first day of investigation was “very productive,” and that the team was "already gathering valuable evidence.” The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, also said despite the "very dangerous circumstances" the experts "interviewed witnesses, survivors and doctors" and "collected some samples". 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.