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Snipers shoot at UN chemical inspectors in Syria – UN spokesman

United Nations (U.N.) vehicles transport a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts to the scene of a poison gas attack outside the Syrian capital last week, in Damascus August 26, 2013. (Reuters / Khaled Al Hariri)

United Nations (U.N.) vehicles transport a team of U.N. chemical weapons experts to the scene of a poison gas attack outside the Syrian capital last week, in Damascus August 26, 2013. (Reuters / Khaled Al Hariri)

A UN inspection team vehicle in Syria has been shot at by snipers, a UN spokesman says. The team returned to the government checkpoint to replace the damaged vehicle, and is currently meeting the victims of the attack and taking samples.

The inspectors’ car “was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area,” the spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Martin Nesirky, said.

Despite earlier reports that the inspection will be suspended, the team went to the inspection area after replacing the vehicle, which is no longer serviceable, at the checkpoint.

The inspectors are now meeting the victims of the attack and taking samples, medics said.

Syrian state TV has issued a statement accusing rebel fighters of carrying out the attack, quoting Syrian information ministry.

Earlier, the team of UN experts drove off from central Damascus to inspect the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in one of the suburbs near the capital. The convoy included six cars and was accompanied by a vehicle of security forces and an ambulance, Reuters reported.

On Sunday, the Assad government gave a green light to the mission to allow investigators access to the sight of reported attack in the suburb of Guta which according to various sources caused from “dozens” to 1,300 fatalities.

United Nations (U.N.) High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane stands outside a hotel to watch a convoy of U.N. inspectors heading to the scene of an alleged chemical weapons strike in the rebel-held area known as Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus August 26, 2013. (Reuters / Khaled Al Hariri)United Nations (U.N.) High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane stands outside a hotel to watch a convoy of U.N. inspectors heading to the scene of an alleged chemical weapons strike in the rebel-held area known as Eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus August 26, 2013. (Reuters / Khaled Al Hariri)

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