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UN demands probe into Syria attack

The UN Security Council is backing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for "a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation" of allegations of chemical weapons use outside the Syrian capital.

UN deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the secretary-general was "shocked" at the alleged use of chemical weapons on the eastern suburbs of Damascus and is determined to ensure a "thorough investigation" of all reported incidents.

After a two-hour, closed-door meeting, the council president said there was "strong concern" about the allegations "and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened".

The attack coincided with the visit to Syria by a 20-member UN chemical weapons team, which only has a mandate to investigate three previous allegations of chemical weapons use.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, who briefed the council, expressed hope that the team will be given access.

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