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UN Chemical Experts Leave Damascus Hotel

Updated: Thursday, August 29 2013, 01:17 PM EDT

U.N. experts investigating purported poison gas attacks have left their Damascus hotel, but anti-regime activists say the team's destination was not immediately known.
  
The inspectors spent two days this week taking biological samples and interviewing survivors in the suburbs of Damascus where Syrian activists say hundreds were killed in the Aug. 21 attacks.
  
Associated Press photographers say the team left the hotel Thursday morning in six cars with U.N. markings. The team's two-week mandate ends this weekend.
  
U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday he has concluded the Syrian regime is behind the attack. It's not clear if the Western powers will wait for the U.N. experts' findings before launching a possible punitive military strike.
  
The U.S. has signaled it would act even without backing from its allies or the U.N.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

UN Chemical Experts Leave Damascus Hotel


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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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