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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked the Syrian government on Thursday to allow U.N. inspectors to investigate the latest alleged chemical attack in the country's civil war "without delay" and grant them access to the site in the Damascus suburbs.
Ban has asked U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, to travel to Damascus to push for access for the U.N. team, which arrived in Syria on Sunday to investigate several previous claims of chemical weapons use.
President Bashar al-Assad's opponents gave death tolls ranging from 500 to well over 1,000 and said on Thursday that more bodies were being found in the wake of the pre-dawn attack on Wednesday. The Syrian government denied using chemical arms.
"The Secretary-General believes that the incidents reported yesterday need to be investigated without delay," Ban's press office said in a statement. "A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the government of Syria in this regard. He expects to receive a positive response without delay."
The U.N. team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, are currently looking into three claims of chemical use in Syria's conflict. The United Nations has received a total of 14 reports of possible chemical attacks - one from Syria's government and the rest from Britain, France and the United States.
The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons, and both have denied it. The U.N. inquiry will try to establish only whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)