DAMASCUS, September 28 (RIA Novosti) – The UN chemical weapons inspection team in Syria may not be able to visit all sites of the alleged chemical weapons use in the country before its mission ends Monday, the team’s leader told RIA Novosti on Saturday, adding that a new inspection was possible.
Professor Ake Sellstrom, the head of the inspection team, said the current visit could not be extended, but the possibility of a new inspection “will be considered.”
The UN has said the team will inspect seven possible sites of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
However, given the time constraint, the team will have to decide which sites to visit and which it could not visit, Sellstrom said, without providing further details.
The team arrived in Syria on August 18 and inspected some locations near Damascus for the possible use of chemical weapons. It left the country on August 30 and subsequently confirmed the use of the sarin nerve agent in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb. It returned to Syria for a second visit on September 25.
A separate team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal on October 1 to verify its destruction plan.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously late Friday to pass a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate its chemical weapon stockpiles.
Under the document, the council "decides, in the event of noncompliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter."
The United States has insisted that the threat of military force is crucial to ensuring that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad abides by the terms of the US-Russia plan to secure and destroy the chemical stockpiles.
However, the resolution does not authorize the automatic use of force if Syria is said to be in violation, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Saturday it absolutely rules out the use of force or any application of Chapter VII.