DAMASCUS, Syria – After months of drawn-out negotiations, United Nations experts arrived in Damascus on Sunday to begin their investigation into the purported use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war.
The rebels have accused President Bashar Assad’s regime of carrying out the alleged chemical attacks, while the Syrian government has blamed the opposition.
The 20-member U.N. team is tasked with determining whether chemical weapons have been used in the conflict, and if so which ones. The mission’s mandate does not extend to establishing who was responsible, which has led some observers to question the value of the probe.
Journalist’s partner detained in London
The partner of a journalist who received leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was detained for nearly nine hours Sunday under anti-terror legislation at London’s Heathrow Airport, triggering claims that authorities are trying to interfere with reporting on the issue.
David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, was held for nearly the maximum time authorities are allowed to detain people under the Terrorism Act, which authorizes security agencies to stop and question people at borders. Greenwald said Miranda’s cellphone, laptops and memory sticks were confiscated.
UK, Germany reopen embassies in Yemen
The United Kingdom and Germany have reopened their embassies in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, after being closed for about two weeks after a terrorism threat was intercepted by the U.S.
The U.S. has reopened 18 diplomatic posts it shut in the Mideast and Africa, but its Sanaa embassy remains closed.