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Fact-finding mission in Syria was ambushed, inspectors briefly held in rebel territory


FILE -- In this August 26, 2013, file Photo, a U.N. team, that is scheduled to investigate an alleged chemical attack that killed hundreds last week in a Damascus suburb, leaves their hotel in a convoy, in Damascus, Syria. In a statement issued Tuesday, May 27, 2014, by the chemical weapons watchdog that is overseeing the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons program, said a convoy of its inspectors has come under attack, but all are safe. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that the inspectors had been traveling to the site of an alleged chlorine gas attack site when they were attacked. (AP Photo, File) (The Associated Press)

The global chemical weapons watchdog says members of a fact-finding mission investigating allegations of chlorine attacks in Syria were ambushed and detained on Tuesday before being released.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released details Wednesday of the ambush in rebel-held territory, saying it started when one vehicle in the joint OPCW-United Nations convoy was severely damaged by a roadside bomb.

The remaining vehicles retreated to a safer location when they were ambushed and the lead vehicle sprayed by automatic gunfire.

The OPCW said occupants of two remaining vehicles "were briefly detained by some gunmen" but were released after intervention by Syria's main opposition group.

One driver sustained minor injuries in the attack, the OPCW says. The rest of the team is back in Damascus.