Europe

Chemical weapons team ready to visit Syria if safety assured

  • OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu speeches during a ceremony marking the OPCW's 20th anniversary in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. The global chemical weapons watchdog's ceremony comes just three weeks after dozens of people were killed in a suspected nerve gas attack in Syria. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, POOL)

    OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu speeches during a ceremony marking the OPCW's 20th anniversary in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. The global chemical weapons watchdog's ceremony comes just three weeks after dozens of people were killed in a suspected nerve gas attack in Syria. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, POOL)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE -- In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017 file photo, victims of the suspected chemical weapons attack lie on the ground, in Khan Sheikhoun, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. France's foreign minister says chemical analysis of samples taken from a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria shows that the nerve agent used "bears the signature" of President Bashar Assad's government and shows it was responsible. Jean-Marc Ayrault says France now knows "from sure sources" that "the manufacturing process of the sarin that was sampled is typical of the method developed in Syrian laboratories." But Kremlin promptly denounced the French report. (Alaa Alyousef via AP, File)

    FILE -- In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017 file photo, victims of the suspected chemical weapons attack lie on the ground, in Khan Sheikhoun, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. France's foreign minister says chemical analysis of samples taken from a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria shows that the nerve agent used "bears the signature" of President Bashar Assad's government and shows it was responsible. Jean-Marc Ayrault says France now knows "from sure sources" that "the manufacturing process of the sarin that was sampled is typical of the method developed in Syrian laboratories." But Kremlin promptly denounced the French report. (Alaa Alyousef via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

The chief of the international chemical weapons watchdog says his team of experts is ready and willing to travel to the site of a deadly nerve gas attack in Syria if their safety can be assured.

Ahmet Uzumcu of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says the experts are "willing to go to Khan Sheikhoun" — the town where almost 90 people died this month — and that they've "undertaken some actions."

However, Uzumcu cautioned on Friday the area is controlled by opposition fighters and that a temporary ceasefire would be needed to assure his team's safety.

Uzumcu didn't call the April 4 incident a chemical weapons attack but said tests by his organization have established beyond doubt that sarin or a similar toxin was used.