May 1, 5:02 PM EDT

Chemical watchdog team waiting for Syria approval for visit


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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The global chemical weapons watchdog says a team stands ready to visit Syria to investigate recent claims of chemical weapon attacks against civilians as soon as the government gives approval.

The latest report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, says a fact-finding team is ready to look into multiple allegations of chlorine attacks in recent months.

Meanwhile, the OPCW director-general "has expressed his serious concerns" about more recent allegations of toxic chemicals in the northwestern province of Idlib and says the fact-finding team is examining all available information.

Syrian activist groups reported another suspected chemical attack in Idlib on Wednesday.

A letter from U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon with the report says, "I profoundly regret that such allegations continue to be raised."

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