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Inspectors again visit site of alleged Syrian chemical attack

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Anti-regime activists in Syria say members of a U.N. team of chemical weapons experts have been working today in a large Damascus suburb that was affected by last week's alleged chemical attack.

The activists say the experts crossed into rebel-held territory, and were accompanied by members of the Free Syrian Army, the main armed opposition group.

Today's visit is the second by the U.N. inspectors to areas that were said to have been targeted by the attack. The visit comes as the U.N.'s envoy to Syria says evidence suggests that some kind of "substance" was used in the attack. According to the group Doctors Without Borders, 355 people were killed.

Syria, which has one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, is denying the charges that it carried out a chemical attack.

Still, the U.S. and its allies appear to be moving toward a strike on the Assad regime.

Ban Ki-moon says inspectors in Syria need 4 days

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says a team of chemical weapons inspectors needs a total of four days to complete its investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

Ban said Wednesday the team had completed a second day of investigations at a site in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

He says, "Let them conclude ... their work for four days and then we will have to analyze scientifically" their findings and send a report to the Security Council.

United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky tells The Associated the team will complete its analysis as quickly as possible. Ban's comments come as Washington and its allies appear to be preparing for a punitive military strike on the Assad regime, which it blames for the purported attack.

Jordan: No attack on Syria from its soil

Jordan's government spokesman says the pro-U.S. kingdom will not be a launching pad for attacks on Syria.

Mohammad Momani, who is also information minister, says Jordan prefers a "diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis." His remarks to The Associated Press Wednesday come in the wake of an anticipated U.S. military strike in retaliation for Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The attack would likely involve sea-launched cruise missile attacks on Syrian military targets. Jordan has been trying hard to avoid friction with its larger neighbor for fear that President Bashar Assad's regime or his Iranian backers could retaliate.

Israel calls up reservists over Syrian threat

An Israeli official says the government has ordered a "limited" call-up of reserve troops in anticipation of a possible attack by Syria.

The official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet ordered the mobilization after special discussions on Wednesday.

With the U.S. threatening to attack Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, Israel fears that Syria may respond with an attack on Israel.

The official says the mobilization will include civil-defense units and reservists in air and rocket-defense units. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement.

Despite the callup, Israeli officials believe the odds of a Syrian attack remain slim.


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