On Sunday, a team of U.N. inspectors led by Swedish arms expert Ake Sellstrom postponed indefinitely its planned two-week mission to Syria after planning snags arose, CBS News reported.
The original departure date for the trip, which will investigate alleged chemical weapons use at three sites in the Middle Eastern nation, was to be Monday, but “technical hitches” forced the team of 10 experts to postpone the journey to Damascus, according to unnamed U.N. sources cited by the network.
Negotiations with the Syrian government have been difficult, with onsite logistics playing a major role in the delay, according to CBS News.
Khan Assal is the only site of the three that has been publicly identified by the U.N. inspectors. That town recently shifted into opposition control, but rebels have said the investigators would be given open access. Ataybah and Homs are reportedly the two other sites, which have not been confirmed on the basis of security concerns.
A total of 13 reports of chemical attack in Syria have been received by the United Nations, CBS cited the international body as saying last week. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the two-year-old civil war, with the vast majority of casualties attributed to conventional attacks.
The U.N. inspection mission’s stated goal is not to determine which side used chemical weapons, but whether chemical weapons have been used in the conflict. However, some critics have said that such an inquiry without the goal of attribution would offer limited value.
According to an unnamed source for CBS News, the team “will notify the Syrians when they are ready to head to the country.”
What We're Following See More »
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."