France, Britain say U.N. must have access to alleged Syria attack site

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2013 2:47 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - France and Britain said on Wednesday that United Nations inspectors currently in Syria should be allowed immediate access to the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack.

"We hope the U.N. team in Damascus will be given immediate and unrestricted access to this area to try and establish the truth. There is no reason not to be given access when (the site) is not so many miles from where they are doing their work now," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters in Paris.

"I hope this will wake up some who have supported the Assad regime to realize its murderous and barbaric nature," Hague added, before heading into a working dinner with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

Syria's opposition accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces of gassing many hundreds of people - by one report as many as 1,300 - in a pre-dawn attack on Wednesday. Assad's government denied using chemical weapons.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)