The United Nations on Wednesday said it would send a senior weapons inspector to Damascus next week to discuss how to investigate claims of Syrian chemical attacks, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Probe leader Ake Sellstrom would be joined by Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, to hammer out "the modalities of cooperation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct" of an investigation into chemical-weapon strikes allegedly carried out in the Syrian civil war, said Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. To date, Damascus has only said it would allow inspectors into the country if they limit their probe to a purported March 19 chemical strike near the city of Aleppo.
Nesirky said the U.N. chief wants the trip to lead to "a mutual understanding on [inspectors'] access."
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's departing top military officer said worries over violent extremism are growing "more dominant" in British planning on Syria, the London Sun reported on Wednesday.
"If we saw chemical weapons proliferate as a result of what is happening in Syria then we would have to act," said David Richards, who on Wednesday wrapped up his tenure as British chief of defense staff.
Only attacks on Syrian land assets can have a "material effect" on President Bashar Assad's strategy, he told the London Telegraph. "You would be going to war if that is what you want to do.”
Insiders, though, said London had backtracked on steps toward arming Syrian resistance fighters, Reuters reported on Thursday.