UN inspectors resume search for evidence of chemical weapons, UN's Ban and UK Dep PM urge caution 2

UN inspectors resume search for evidence of chemical weapons, UN's Ban and UK Dep PM urge caution



UN experts investigating alleged chemical gas attacks left their Damascus hotel on Thursday, but anti-regime activists said the team’s destination was not immediately known.
The inspectors spent two days this week taking biological samples and interviewing survivors in the suburbs of Damascus where Syrian activists say hundreds were killed in the August 21 attacks.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team would be leaving Syria on Saturday.
Speaking in Vienna, Ban also denounced the use of chemical weapons by any group.
He told reporters that “the use of chemical weapons by anyone for any reason under any circumstances is crimes against humanity and that must be held accountable.”
However the Secretary General held back from supporting a military response against Syria.
Instead he asked for time for the inspection team to complete its investigation, including a scientific analysis of the samples after they leave Syria.
All opinions should be heard before decisions are made on a possible response, he said.
US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he has concluded the Syrian regime is behind the attack.
It’s not clear if the US will wait for the UN experts’ findings before launching a possible punitive military strike.
In Britain, meanwhile the opposition Labour Party has indicated it may not support even a watered down version of a government resolution on Syria.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said Thursday he is unwilling to give Prime Minister David Cameron a “blank cheque” for conducting possible future military operations against Syria.
He had earlier forced Cameron to back down on calls for an immediate strike in order to assess UN inspectors’ evidence about a possible Syrian government chemical attack on its own people.
Labour’s position leaves the results of a parliamentary vote expected late on Thursday in doubt.
If approved, the measure would authorise possible strikes in principle but would still require the government to wait for the UN report.
The government says it plans to publish its legal advice on a possible attack on Thursday.

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