U.N. Inspectors Under Sniper Fire in Syria

No one was injured in the convoy on its way to investigate claims of chemical-weapons use

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Unidentified snipers opened fire Monday on a U.N. convoy in Syria that was on its way to inspect claims that government forces used chemical weapons against civilians last week, the U.N. said.

No one on the inspection team was injured, but the lead vehicle was damaged and the team returned to a checkpoint to replace it. The U.N. inspectors then plan to continue their journey to the site where rebel fighters claim the government fired gas-armed rockets to kill hundreds of people on Wednesday. The government of Bashar Assad has denied using chemical weapons and granted the inspectors access to the site on Sunday, though only days after experts say the inspection would have borne more fruit.

The U.N. said on its website that the convoy “was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area.”

“It has to be stressed again that all sides need to extend their cooperation so that the Team can safely carry out their important work,” the U.N. said.

Syrian state-run television blamed opposition “terrorists” for firing on the inspectors. The attack being investigated was among the deadliest in the more than two-year-long civil war, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the use of chemical weapons, if true, would amount to crimes against humanity. U.S. and other Western governments are increasingly considering military intervention in the wake of the attack.