United Nations will launch a special investigation into allegations that chemical weapons were used in Aleppo, Syria.
Reports say UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced the probe would look respond to the the reports that Syria’s government and rebels demanded an international inquiry into the deadly attack which both sides cite as an evidence that the other has used chemical weapons.
The investigation will focus on an incident in Khan al-Assal, northern part of Aleppo when Damascus says rebel forces used chemical weapons.
However, the rebels reportedly accuse the government of staging the attack.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition said it also wanted an investigation into another incident of alleged chemical attack in a town near the capital city of Damascus.
US welcomes the probe by UN
In her remarks in Washington DC, US Permanent Representative Ambassador Susan E. Rice says the United States welcomes today’s announcement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon regarding an investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.
She says the United States supports an investigation that pursues any and all credible allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, and underscores the importance of launching this investigation as swiftly as possible.
“We demand the full cooperation of the Assad regime in particular, as well as Syrian authorities throughout the country, including by providing full and unfettered access to all relevant individuals and locations.” – Ms. Rice
In addition, humanitarian workers seeking to assist injured individuals should be given complete access to provide medical care and assistance as needed, Ms. Rice added.
The US calls on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to provide full support to the UN’s investigation, including information, expertise, and resources.
As the UN proceeds with these efforts, US will also continue to work closely with its partners to obtain further information regarding any and all credible allegations of the potential or actual use of chemical weapons in Syria.US reiteates use or transfer of chemical weapons is totally unacceptable
According to Ms. Rice, President Obama has been clear that the use or transfer of chemical weapons is totally unacceptable.
She notes if Bashar Al-Assad and those under his command make the mistake of using chemical weapons, or fail to meet their obligation to secure them, then there will be consequences.
In addition, Ms. Rice says those responsible will be held accountable as well.
Stockpile of chemical weapons in Syria
Reports say Syria has admitted to possessing a stockpile of chemical weapons, claiming they are reserved for national defense against foreign countries.
During the Syrian civil war in August 2012, the Syrian military reportedly restarted chemical weapons testing in Aleppo.
Many reportedly believe Syria has an active chemical weapons program.
Syria is not a member to the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is one of six states that have not signed and eight that have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Syrian Crisis: Is US Turning a Deaf Ear?
With speculations continue to stir that US is turning a deaf ear on Syrian crisis especially when it come to its leaderhip role, US has clarified that it is playing the significant role in addressing the crisis.
President Obama has led an effort together with a number of other countries, but led an effort that Secretary Clinton was very active and moving around, trying to speak with the opposition, identify them, bring them together, help them unify, get them recognized.
All of that has come together with significant input from the United States of America.
In addition, President Obama has sent Secretary to Rome in an effort to ratchet it up yet another notch.
US Deeply involved in the crisis?
According to Secretary John Kerry, US is not finish at all in terms of aiding the opposition.
US the biggest humanitarian donor and it is deeply involved in helping the Jordanians and others be able to deal with that crisis.
US aid to Syria
In November 2012, the United States of America provided $30 million in additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of Syrian people affected by the turmoil.
In Syria, the additional funding will allow for provision of food aid to families in need.
In neighboring countries, the additional assistance from the United States will provide food supplies, hot meals, and food vouchers for families who have fled the violence in Syria.
In addition, the additional assistance will be provided through the World Food Program (WFP), which is providing food aid to 1.5 million people in Syria and the refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.
The United States is the largest donor of food aid for those affected by the conflict in Syria through WFP.
In August 2012, with the violence engulfing Syria, the United States of America has announced an additional $12 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the total amount of U.S. emergency aid to more than $76 million.
The U.S. government continues to place on ending the escalating violence which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
The humanitarian needs continue to grow whre the number of Syrians displaced to neighboring countries now exceeds 130,000, with nearly 1.5 million in need inside Syria, including UN-estimated one million internally displaced persons.
The Syrian violence has led a crisis on a humanitarian scale that is of the highest priority within the U.S. government, and for which the US pledges to continue to provide support.
In April 2012, with the deteriorating situation in Syria due to turmoil, the United States of America has bolstered efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in the country.
The UN estimates that there are over 2 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.
United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 70, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.