Syria Grants UN Access to Alleged Chemical Site
Both sides working to nail down details of visit
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2013 8:22 AM CDT
This Aug. 21, 2013, file image, which has been authenticated, several bodies are buried during a funeral in a suburb of Damascus, Syria.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, File)
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(Newser) – Syria will allow UN inspectors access to the site of last week's alleged chemical weapons attack, the country's deputy foreign minister tells CNN, effective immediately, though the AP adds that both sides are working to settle the exact date and time of the visit. The move comes amid much rhetoric this morning over the attack, as Western powers try to verify that chemical weapons were in fact used. Syria had earlier warned the US against any intervention, reports Reuters, saying that it would "create a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East." Washington, meanwhile, had ordered four warships to close in on the region. UN inspectors are on the ground in Damascus, but regime leaders had until now blocked access to the site of the attack. Elsewhere in Syria developments:

  • British PM David Cameron spoke with President Obama yesterday, and said the two were "gravely concerned" and that there would be a "serious response" if chemical agents had been used, reports the BBC.
  • The AP is quoting a senior White House official as saying there is "very little doubt" chemical weapons were used, but said Obama had not yet decided on a course of action.
  • Pope Francis denounced the "atrocious deeds" in his sermon this morning, and urged the international community to "put all its efforts" at stopping the "tragic situation."
  • French President Francois Hollande's office released a statement today saying that a "body of evidence" indicated chemical weapons had been used, reports the AP, and that "everything" pointed to the regime as the culprit.