U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says U.N. personnel will begin inspecting the site of a major suspected chemical attack near Damascus on Monday.
In a statement released by his spokesman on Sunday, Ban said the Syrian government agreed to “provide the necessary cooperation” for the U.N. team to investigate the August 21 incident.
Ban said that cooperation includes ceasing hostilities in the area of the attack in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
A senior Obama administration official dismissed the Syrian government’s offer to let the U.N. inspectors access the site, calling it “too late to be credible.”
The U.S. said there is “very little doubt” that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used a chemical weapon against civilians in Ghouta.
The U.N. inspectors led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom arrived in Damascus a week ago to investigate earlier allegations of chemical attacks in the Syrian conflict.
Western powers had called on the Syrian government to give the U.N. team immediate access to the scene of Wednesday’s incident, fearing any delay would enable evidence of a chemical attack to degrade or be removed.
Syrian state news agency SANA accused rebels of carrying out a new chemical attack on Saturday, causing soldiers to suffocate in the Joubar suburb of Damascus.