Samples collected by the U.N chemical weapons inspection team in Syria will be transferred to laboratories on Monday, according to a spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“The whole process will be done strictly adhering to the highest established standards of verification recognised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),” Martin Nesirky said after a telephone call with Dr Ake Sellstrom, the head of the inspection team.
Mr. Ban asked Dr. Sellstrom to expedite the mission’s analysis of the samples and information it had obtained “without jeopardising the scientific timelines required for accurate analysis and to report the results to him as soon as possible,” Mr. Nesirky said, adding that they had discussed ways to further accelerate the analysis.
He reiterated that the U.N. mission is “uniquely capable of establishing, in an impartial and credible manner, the facts of any use of chemical weapons based directly on evidence collected on the ground.”
Syrian opposition and the West have accused President Basher Al-Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb, a charge denied by the Government.
U.S Secretary of State John Kerry has said blood and hair samples collected from the chemical attack site in Syria have “tested positive for signatures of sarin gas.” He pushed for a military strike against the Assad regime over its alleged use of the deadly weapon.
Meanwhile, two Syrian Government officials have been observing the U.N process, as per Mr. Ban’s guidelines for the procedure, and in strict adherence with the established standards for verification set up by the OPCW.
Once analysis of the samples is completed, a report will be given to Mr. Ban who will share the results with all Member States and the Security Council.