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UN Experts to Bring Syria Samples to European Labs

Updated: Thursday, August 29 2013, 02:02 PM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United Nations says some of its chemical weapons experts in Syria will personally take samples to laboratories around Europe after leaving Damascus on Saturday morning.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq says the team's final report will depend on the lab results and that it could take "more than days."

However, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expects to receive an initial report on the investigation soon after the experts leave Damascus. Haq said Ban is flying back to New York on Thursday, cutting short a visit to Austria to be ready to receive the report.

The team's mandate is only to determine whether chemical weapons were used in an attack that reportedly killed hundreds of people last week. But Haq suggested that the findings might indicate who was behind the attack.

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[Photo: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (AP Photo/Hans Punz)]

UN Experts to Bring Syria Samples to European Labs


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 
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