UN rejects suggestion it's pulling out of Syria to allow strikes
UNITED NATIONS - Reuters
A United Nations (UN) arms expert collects samples as they inspect the site where rockets had fallen in Damascus' eastern Ghouta suburb during an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons strike near the capital. The inspectors have left Syria on Aug. 31. AFP photoThe United Nations on Aug. 31 vehemently rejected suggestions that the world body was somehow stepping aside to allow U.S. air strikes on Syria and said its humanitarian work in the conflict-ravaged country would continue.
"I have seen all kinds of reporting suggesting that the departure of the chemical weapons team somehow opens a window for military action of some kind," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
"Frankly, that's grotesque, and it's also an affront to the more than 1,000 staff, U.N. staff, who are on the ground in Syria delivering humanitarian aid and who will continue to deliver critical aid," he said.
Several U.N. agencies had scaled down their staffing in Syria as a precaution, a U.N. source told Reuters from Damascus on Aug. 31.
Earlier on Aug. 31, a team of United Nations inspectors also crossed into Lebanon from Syria after completing their probe into a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus.