The United Nations will investigate whether chemical weapons were deployed in Syria, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Thursday.
Syrian rebels and President Bashar Assad’s regime each accused one another of using chemical weapons in an attack Tuesday in northern Syria.
“The international community needs full assurance that chemical weapons stockpiles are verifiably safeguarded,” Ban said, adding that his announcement should “serve as an unequivocal reminder that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity.”
Ban said cooperation from both sides will be “essential” and that the U.N. will require “unfettered access.”
Ban said the investigation “will not happen overnight” but that he intends for the investigation “to start as soon as practically possible.”
President Barack Obama, on his first visit to Israel, announced Wednesday that the U.S. is investigating claims of chemical weapons use and said he was “deeply skeptical” of the Assad government’s claim that it was the rebels that had deployed them.