UNITED NATIONS, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - The United Nations has received Syria’s request to create a group of independent investigators to probe an alleged chemical attack in the country, the UN secretary general's press service said on Wednesday.
"A written request has now been received from the Syrian authorities and it is being studied," the press office said in a note.
On Tuesday, the Syrian government and opposition rebels traded accusations of the use of chemical weapons during fighting in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.
Syria’s state news agency SANA accused antigovernment militants of firing a rocket containing chemical agents into a village near the provincial capital of Aleppo, reportedly killing at least 25 people. Around 110 people are reported to be injured.
Opposition forces have denied reports of the attack and instead accused the government of using chemical weapons.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a phone conversation on Tuesday with Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Uzumcu, in which he reiterated that "the use of chemical weapons by any party under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime."
Syria's U.N. envoy Bashar Jaafari said on Wednesday that he had requested the secretary general “to form a specialized, independent and neutral technical mission” for an investigation into the attack, Al-Arabiya reported.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told a daily press briefing hours later in the day that the UN had not received the Syrian formal request yet.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in his Twitter that the incident should be thoroughly investigated, “though there have been no unambiguous evidence on this issue so far.”