U.N. investigators back in Syria to look into more chemical weapons claims
September 25, 2013 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
- Three premises have been agreed upon for a Security Council resolution, source says
- The team will try to determine if a chemical weapons attack took place in Khan al-Asal
- Syria says 25 people were killed there in March
- The U.N. has already confirmed a chemical weapons attack near Damascus
(CNN) -- U.N. inspectors returned to Syria on Wednesday to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use -- some allegedly by the regime, others allegedly by rebels.
The team has already confirmed the August 21 use of chemical warfare near Damascus but did not explicitly say who was responsible. According to U.S. estimates, that attack left more than 1,400 people dead.
The move came the same day a U.N. diplomat told CNN that three basic premises have been agreed upon for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria's chemical weapons disarmament.
Russia has basically agreed to the points, but "small issues" remain to be decided, the source said.
The deal could still fall apart.
According to the source, the three premises are: 1. Accountability for attacks on August 21; 2. Binding and enforceable language for measures against Syria in case of violations in the disarmament regime or the use of chemical weapons; 3. The council will remain seized of the matter, meaning that further discussion will be expedited.
The resolution would not authorize automatic use of force if Syria is said to be in violation, as was previously sought by the United States, the source said.
Among their tasks, investigators will try to figure out if chemical weapons were used in the northern city of Khan al-Asal in March. State-run media blamed rebels for the attack, which it said killed 25 people and injured more than 110 others. Syrian rebels, meanwhile, accused government forces of a chemical weapons attack on the rural Damascus suburb of Ateibeh.
Syrian rebels reject interim government, embrace Sharia
Security concerns delay U.N. inspectors
But the inspectors face a litany of challenges, like trying to find physical and forensic evidence from more than six months ago.
Then there's the security situation. During the inspectors' last visit, mortar shells landed near their hotel in Damascus, and their convoy came under fire while en route to a scene.
And just like their investigation into the August 21 attack, the inspectors will only try to determine whether chemical weapons were used during this trip, not who was responsible.
READ: U.S. official: Syrian CW list more complete than anticipated
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Holly Yan, Nick Thompson and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
What caught our experts' ears was as much about what he didn't address as much as what he did.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1019 GMT (1819 HKT)
The three-year war in Syria has claimed 162,402 lives, an opposition group said Monday, as the raging conflict shows no signs of abating.
May 31, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Official: The U.S. believes a jihadi featured in a suicide bombing video in Syria is Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha who grew up in Florida.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
For the first time, Britain has convicted someone of a terrorism offense related to the Syrian civil war.