Syria - UN team forced to turn back after being fired at

  • 26 August 2013
UN disarmament chief Angela Kane arrives at hotel in Damascus. 24 Aug 2013

A team of inspectors from the United Nations were forced to delay tests for chemical weapons after they were fired at.

The group were heading to the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack just outside the capital Damascus, when one of their vehicles was hit by snipers.

Nobody was hurt but they had to turn back.

The team have since gone back to the site and carried out the tests.

The government granted them permission to inspect the area, following reports that hundreds of people had died from suspected chemical poisoning.

It's reported to have happened in the Ghouta region on the morning of Wednesday 21 August.

Ceasefire

It's extremely difficult to work out what's happened in Syria as both sides of the conflict blame each other for attacks.

Rebel fighters claim that the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack, but the government denies this, saying it was the rebels themselves.

Syria's government has now agreed to a ceasefire.

'Grave concern'

If it's confirmed that chemical weapons have been used, it may mean other countries decide to get involved in Syria's war.

Chemical weapons, such as poison gases, are banned under international law because of the harm they can cause to people over a wide area.

US President Barack Obama commented last week that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria represent a "big event of grave concern".

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said any military intervention by the US would end in "failure".

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