"I can say there is a strong concern among Council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and that the situation has to be followed carefully," the UNSC president, Maria Cristina Perceval said in a council meeting on Wednesday.

The emergency meeting had called for a prompt investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital that left hundreds of people dead.

She said council members "welcomed the determination of the Secretary General to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation".

Perceval said that there was a strong call for a cessation of hostilities and for a ceasefire.

Having failed to get a strong action from the Security Council, because of resistance from Russia and China; its other three permanent members the US, Britain and France, wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to launch an urgent investigation into these allegations as expeditiously as possible.

"We urge you to do all you can to ensure that the Mission has urgent access to all relevant sites and sources of information," the letter said.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, hoped that the UN team on the ground will be able to conduct the investigation. "We hope that they (UN team) will be given access to the area by the Government – there is a requirement of consent in situations like this, and also that the security situation will allow them to enter the area. It is a very dramatic situation and the security situation right now does not allow such access," he said.

The Human Rights Watch was highly critical of the UN Security Council stand on Syria. "Today's tortuous Security Council unofficial statement on Syria misses the mark and fails the victims," United Nations Director, Human Rights Watch, Philippe Bolopion said.

Bolopian said that Russia and China were once again protecting the Iranian government that had been slaughtering its own people. "They will go down in history as two major enablers of Assad's bloody tactics to repress the Syrian people," he said.

Meanwhile, US lawmakers called on UNSC to take action against Syria in response to chemical attack. "It is imperative that the UN investigative team in Syria be allowed to do its work unimpeded and that they be given immediate and unrestricted access to the area where attacks are reported to have occurred," Senator Robert Menendez said.

Reports that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against hundreds of civilians are disturbing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce said.


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