Nightly News   |  August 30, 2013

UN inspectors to decide if chemical attack actually happened

United Nations inspectors will investigate claims of a chemical attack in Syria, but won’t be able to say who initiated it. Bill Neely reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> inside syria . u.n. inspectors scheduled to leave tomorrow. people are bracing for a possible military strike . we hear tonight from bill neely in damascus .

>> reporter: all day here in damascus , the sound of explosions as syria 's army keeps up its assault on rebels in the suburbs, but they are braced here for explosion osf a quite different kind. waiting for a u.s. military strike as u.n. chemical weapons inspectors end their mission here. u.n. weapons inspectors set off to try to prove chemical weapons were used in syria . a mission governments around the world are watching. but they went today not to the site of the attacks to talk to those who had been targeted, but to a syrian army hospital to interview soldiers. syria 's government says the soldiers were victims of poison gases. as ever, the inspect rs gave it away.

>> why are you here?

>> because our investigation.

>> reporter: they brought in medical equipment to take samples and took statements from at least five soldiers. the syrians refused to allow journalists to talk to the troops. the inspectors will decide if a chemical attack happened here but not who did it. they've spent three days in the homes and streets where hundreds died and thousands were affect. ed by what was clearly an extraordinary artillery barrage last week. the u.s. and many allies are convinced syria 's army was responsible. the government here blames rebels. on the capital's streets today they are waiting for retaliation from the united states . today, all day, the smoke and noise of explosion in damascus . syria 's army shelling suburbs, ready, too, for retaliation. so the mass cuss tonight is tense -- soda so damascus is tense. you'll eyes even here now on washington. back to you, lester.

>> all right, bill neely in