UN chemical weapons team to head to Syria; New Iranian president pledges support to Syria
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  • According to reports, a UN chemical weapons investigation team comprising more than 10 experts are scheduled to visit Syria within the next few days to establish whether chemical weapons have been used in the conflict so far, and if so, which weapons were used; the team however will not determine who used them. Both the Syrian government and the opposition have denied that each have used chemical weapons, and have accused each other. The UN has so far received 13 reports of possible chemical weapons attacks. The Syrian government has granted access to three sites in the country, one being in the Aleppo province. 1 The Syrian National Coalition has informed the UN that it will offer "full cooperation with the investigation team, particularly in assuring their unfettered access into liberated areas".2

    In another development, according to reports, newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has promised Syria that ties between the two countries will remain unaffected. Rouhani interacted with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi who was attending the former’s swearing-in ceremony in Tehran. Rouhani pledged "Iran's unwavering support for the Syrian people and government, in order to restore stability, face up to challenges, support efforts for reform and find a peaceful solution to the crisis". Iran has been a major regional ally of Syria President Bashar al-Assad during the ongoing conflict. The two countries also have a long-standing relationship since Damascus supported Tehran in the eight-year long Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. 3