Syria 'chemical attack': OPCW investigators to be allowed into Douma

Ann Santiago
April 21, 2018

Global inspectors have entered the Syrian town where an alleged chemical attack was carried out earlier this month, following delays by Syrian and Russian authorities.

"No other group could have carried out this attack", May told MPs, adding that the Syrian authorities had attempted to "conceal the facts. supported by the Russians".

The two officials, who were not authorized to discuss private administration deliberations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Haley had misspoken when she said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would announce the sanctions Monday "if he hasn't already".

Several said a odd smell started spreading and people screamed: "It's chlorine!"

Syrian state media reported hours earlier that the country confronted yet another assault, shooting down missiles over the central region of Homs and a suburb of Damascus before dawn.

"It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation", he said.

Russia's representative at the OPCW Alexander Shulgin accused the West of pre-judging the inspection and blaming Moscow for blocking access to the site.

Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials have gone even further, accusing Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack.

Syria and Russian Federation deny unleashing poison gas on April 7 during their offensive on Douma, which ended with the recapture of the town that had been the last rebel stronghold near the capital, Damascus.

Independent investigators have been prevented by Syrian and Russian officials from reaching the scene of an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital, an official said.

"We can not go back to a world where the use of chemical weapons becomes normalised". They say the arrival of the inspectors is being held up by Syrian authorities who now control the area, and that evidence of the chemical attack may be being destroyed.

"The team has not yet deployed to Douma", two days after arriving in Syria, Uzumcu told an executive council of the OPCW in The Hague.

Instead, officials have offered up 22 people as witnesses for OPCW to interview. But others said it would be wiser and more effective to wait for a period longer than three days after the U.S., British and French infuriated Russian Federation with their missile strikes on Syria on Friday.

Mrs May was forced to the Despatch Box to explain her actions following demands for a full Commons debate on the UK's participation in the US-led air strikes.

The Pentagon said there was no USA military activity in that area "at this time".

Syria's state run television says a false alarm - and not an outside aggression and incoming airstrikes - had set off Syrian air defenses early this morning. Israel did not confirm or deny the allegations.

In response to the attack, the U.S, United Kingdom and France carried out targeted military strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

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