Syria agrees to UN chemical weapons investigation

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria will allow U.N. experts already in that country to begin an investigation Monday into last week’s suspected chemical attack on rebel-held areas in the capital’s eastern suburbs.

A senior White House official is dismissing the agreement announced Sunday as “too late to be credible,” saying the United States has “very little doubt” President Bashar Assad’s forces used such weapons.

The hardening of the U.S. position comes as calls for military action grow. In a sign the U.S. may be a step closer to an armed response, naval forces have already been dispatched toward Syria’s coastal waters.

France, Britain, Israel and some members of Congress are urging swift military action against Assad’s regime if the use of chemical agents is confirmed.

Russia has welcomed Syria’s decision and says the U.S. should await the findings and realize that a unilateral use of force would be a mistake.

Anti-government activists and Doctors Without Borders say that more than 300 people were killed just outside Damascus in an artillery barrage by regime forces Wednesday that included the use of toxic gas. The government calls the allegations “absolutely baseless.”

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