Syria agrees to allow UN examine chemical attack site

Syria on map used to illustrate the story.
Syria on map used to illustrate the story.

The US is considering options against Syria.

Syria has agreed to immediately allow UN inspectors investigate allegations of a suspected chemical weapon attack which killed hundreds of people, including women and children, near the capital, Damascus.

But news agency,Reuters, quoted a US official as saying that decision came too late. The US has indicated it was prepared to take military action against Bashar al Assad’s regime-which it blames for the attack-once President Barack Obama decides on an option.

Syria blames the rebels, which it has fought for more than two years, for the attack and state media have reported that chemical agents have been found in tunnels used by rebel fighters.

Syria warned the US against inflaming the Middle East by intervening, and Iran, one its allies also warned the US of consequences if it took military action against Syria.

The US has already aligned four of its ships in the area closer to Syria, and defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, said there are multiple options before the president to choose from.

The UN team, already in Syria to investigate previous allegations of chemical attacks, is to begin work on Monday. Activists say Syrian forces killed more than 300 people in several suburbs east and west of the capital on Wednesday.

The Syrian foreign ministry statement broadcast on state television said an agreement to allow UN chemical weapons experts to “investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in Damascus province” had been concluded on Sunday with the UN’s disarmament chief, Angela Kane.

The US official, according to Reuters, said any decision to grant access to the U.N. inspectors would be “too late to be credible” because evidence had been corrupted by government shelling and other actions.

Amid increasing signs that the United States and its allies were considering taking action, a year after President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons was a “red line”, a large population of Americans appear against any intervention.

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About 60 percent of Americans surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Saturday said the United Nations should not intervene, while just 9 percent thought Obama should act.

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