"Every hour counts. We cannot afford any more delays," Ban told reporters in Seoul, hours before a UN team was due to inspect the site of last week's alleged chemical attack near
The Syrian authorities green-lighted the inspection on Sunday, but US officials said that it was too little, too late, arguing that persistent shelling of the site in recent days has ‘corrupted’ the site.
"The world is watching Syria," the Secretary General said, stressing once again that the UN experts must be allowed to conduct a ‘full, thorough and unimpeded’ investigation.
"We cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity," said Ban who was wrapping up a five-day visit to his homeland, South Korea.
Syria's opposition says that more than 1,300 people died when regime forces unleashed chemical weapons against rebel-held towns east and southwest of Damascus Wednesday, while Doctors Without Borders said that 355 people had died of ‘neurotoxic’ symptoms. Damascus has however strongly denied that it carried out such an attack, instead blaming the rebels.
Ban said that the success of the UN investigation was ‘in everyone's interest’ and would have an important ‘deterrent impact’ on the possible future use of chemical weapons.
"If proven, any use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is a serious violation of international law and an outrageous crime," he added.


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