Syria Chemical Weapon Probe Stalls as UN Seeks Nationwide Mandate

Ban: Probe of Single Incident Requires 'Additional Tasks'

The Syrian government was eager for the United Nations to dispatch investigators after a reported chemical weapons attack in Aleppo last month, maintaining such a probe would prove the rebels were to blame. Now, however, the probe seems inexorably stalled.

That’s because a call to probe a single incident has turned into a demand from the UN to have access to materially the entire country, with Ban Ki-moon saying the UN needs to perform “additional tasks” nationwide in the probe.

The attack killed 25 people, and while both rebels and government blamed one another, experts have increasingly said they believe the attack was rebel in origin and used a make-shift weapon, as opposed to proper chemical arms like the Syrian military has.

Ban continues to insist the probe must happen “without delay,” but refuses to back off the demand to expand it nationwide, despite the Syrian government refusing them access so long as they continue to seek such a far-reaching mandate. In the end, this may keep the incident from ever being formally probed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of