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Syrian crisis: Keep up with key developments

CNN News Wire | 9/3/2013, 1 p.m.
Cruise missiles fired from one of four U.S. Navy destroyers deployed in the Mediterranean Sea could be used to strike Syrian "command and control" facilities.

UNITED NATIONS

  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said all biomedical and environmental samples gathered by inspectors investigating the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria “will have arrived at the designated laboratories by tomorrow.” Speaking to reporters Tuesday, he said investigators are expediting the review process, but stressed the importance of not jeopardizing scientific timelines needed for accurate analysis.
  • Ban said if confirmed, “the use of chemical weapons by anyone, under any circumstances,” would represents a “serious violation of international law” and an “outrageous war crime.”
  • Ban called “for its members to unite and develop an appropriate response should the allegations prove to be true.” He said the U.N. Security Council “has a duty to move beyond the current stalemate and show leadership.”

INTERNATIONAL REACTION, DEVELOPMENTS

  • Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Bashar Jaafari told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that “allegations” of Syrian government aggression and use of chemical weapons “are false and unfounded.”
  • The use of weapons of mass destruction is a “horrible appalling crime” and those who deploy such weapons “should be held accountable,” Jaafari said. Syria “has been a victim of intrusion” and “interference” in its domestic life by “foreign intelligence,” Jaafari said.
  • Jaafari, defending his country’s policies, said that the issue for his country is “about an aggression that will strike the whole Syrian people” and “we are all victims of any escalation of the situation.”
  • Amid heightened tension in the region, Israel carried out a missile test Tuesday morning in the Mediterranean. Israel’s Ministry of Defense said it and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency “completed a successful flight test (of the) new version of the Sparrow target missile.” This is part of a high-altitude ballistic missile defense system capable of defending against a long-range missile attack.
  • The trial was carried out from an Israeli test range over the Mediterranean Sea, it said. The Arrow defense system successfully detected and tracked the system, Israel’s Ministry of Defense added.
  • The U.S. Defense Department confirmed that it “provided technical assistance and support” for Israel’s missile test over the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday. But Pentagon spokesman George Little said the “test had nothing to do with United States consideration of military action to respond” to Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack last month.
  • The Chinese foreign affairs spokesman said China has noted the U.S. claim of chemical weapons evidence and said the United States has briefed China about the situation. But Beijing believes “any action taken by the international community should abide by the purposes and principles of the U.N. charter,” foreign affairs spokesman Hong Lei said Monday.
  • Russia says it doesn’t buy U.S. claims that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. “There are no facts, there’s only talk about what we know for certain,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. “When we ask for more detailed evidence, they say, ‘You know, it’s all secret, so we can’t show you.’ That means that there are no such facts.”
  • Russia plans to send a delegation of lawmakers to the United States to meet with members of Congress over Syria, RIA Novosti reported Monday, citing a top parliament member.

CNN’s Joe Sterling, Mohammed Jamjoom, Saad Abedine, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Yousuf Basil, Josh Levs, Holly Yan, Dana Bash, Tom Dunlavey, Reza Sayah and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.