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UN weapons inspectors prepare to leave Syria

Updated: Saturday, September 7 2013, 11:29 AM EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- United Nations inspectors have finished collecting samples from the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21.
 
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Friday that the team is "now packing up" and preparing to leave for The Hague on Saturday, where its members will take samples to several laboratories in Europe.
 
The comments come as Washington and France seem to be preparing for a military strike on the Assad regime, which they blame for the purported attack.
 
Nesirky said the U.N. team also visited a government military hospital in Damascus on Friday, to look into separate allegations by the Syrian government that dozens of its soldiers were victims of a chemical attack

   AP-WF-08-30-13 1714GMT UN weapons inspectors prepare to leave Syria


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 

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