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UN Officials in Syria for Chemical Arms Talks as Militants Attack Khan al-Assal

Local Editor

Shortly after the arrival of two UN envoys to Damascus, foreign-backed militants attacked Aleppo’s Khan al-Assal in a bid to hide traces of chemical weapons used by the opposition militants against government forces few months earlier.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom and Angela Kane, the UN high representative for disarmament, arrived from Beirut on Wednesday for two days of talks, which the United Nations has been pushing for since April.

They were likely to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem later, a source close to the UN delegation told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Al-Manar correspondent in Syria reported that the armed groups attacked Khan al-Assal in Aleppo in order to hide traces of chemical weapons which were reportedly used for the first time in the Syrian conflict last March.

On June 11, the United Nations accepted an invitation from the Syrian government for the visit by the two officials.

Damascus has insisted any investigation should focus on the use of chemical weapons in the northern town of Khan al-Assal in March, which it and Russia blamed on the rebels.

The town was captured by armed groups on Monday, in what may harden the investigation mission.

Kerry to Meet Jarba
Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry was set to meet with the new leader of the Syrian opposition Ahmad Jarba at the UN in New York.

Kerry will meet the newly-elected Jarba on Thursday afternoon at the United Nations in New York, on the sidelines of a Security Council meeting.

It will be Kerry’s first meeting with Jarba since he was elected head of the Syrian National Coalition on July 6.

Kerry will seek to convey “the US commitment to continuing to help strengthen the opposition”, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Source: Al Manar

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