UN extends Syria chemical weapons investigation

The U.N. Security Council has extended the mandate of the investigative body charged with identifying those responsible for chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

The short-term extension, from Sept. 30 until Oct.31, will allow the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, to complete its fourth report, the U.N. said in statement Thursday.

In September 2013, Syria accepted a Russian proposal to relinquish its chemical weapons. That averted a U.S. military strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in the Damascus suburb.

Russia has blocked council action against President Bashar Assad's government — but Moscow did support the establishment of the Mechanism, charged with determining who was responsible for the attacks and paving the way for possible punishment.