Ban asks Syria to allow UN investigation of chemical attack
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the Syrian government to allow a UN team of inspectors to investigate the alleged chemical attack near the capital Damascus.
"The Secretary-General believes that the incidents reported yesterday need to be investigated without delay," Ban’s press office said in a statement on Thursday.
"A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the Government of Syria in this regard. He expects to receive a positive response without delay,” the statement added.
The UN Security Council, which held a meeting behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the matter, has also said that it seeks clarity on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius threatened force against Syria if the allegations prove true.
"France's position is that there must be a reaction, a reaction that could take the form of a reaction with force,” he told the French BFM TV channel on Thursday.
Turkish Foreign Ministers Ahmet Davutoglu met his German counterpart Guido Westerwell in Berlin on Thursday. They demanded that Syria allow the UN team to investigate the site.
Westerwelle called for UN inspectors "to be granted immediate access to investigate the allegations."
Russian Foreign Ministry also called for a thorough investigation into the attack. Moscow suggested that foreign-backed militants could have staged the assault to provoke international action.
On Wednesday, Syria's opposition claimed that hundreds were killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar before dawn.
Head of the so-called opposition Syrian National Coalition, George Sabra, told reporters in Istanbul that more than 1,300 people were killed in the alleged attack.
The Syrian army has vehemently denied allegations that it used chemical weapons against Takfiri militants in the suburbs of the Ghouta region, saying the accusations were fabricated to distract the visiting team of the UN chemical weapons experts and to cover up militants losses.