OPCW: International inspectors denied access to alleged Syrian chemical attack site

OPCW says will not disclose details of investigative mission to Syria for security reasons

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released a statement Saturday saying the organization is in Syria to conduct an investigation into the allegation that the April 7 attack in Duma was a chemical one and will remain there until the task is complete.

Worldwide investigators on Sunday prepared to examine for the first time the site where dozens of civilians were killed in what the USA and its allies say was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. The OPCW team arrived the same day that the US, the United Kingdom and France conducted airstrikes on targets they say are associated with a Syrian chemical weapons program.

The US envoy to the OPCW, however, expressed concern that Russian Federation had visited the site and "may have tampered with it" to impede the investigation.

Syria and its ally Russian Federation deny any chemical attack took place - with Russian Federation calling it a "staged thing".

Russia's foreign minister told the BBC that "Russia has not tampered with the site".

May has said she did not seek a green light from parliament for the attacks due to the need to act quickly.

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

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, says 177,000 people have fled Eastern Ghouta since February, with 108,000 going to government-held areas. Washington says it has confirmed that chlorine gas was used, and has unconfirmed suspicion that nerve agents may also have been used.

In London and Paris, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron faced criticism from political opponents over their decisions to take part in the air strikes against Syria.

Two days after the missile strikes which he hailed as a well-executed military operation, President Donald Trump still wants to bring United States troops home, the White House said on Monday.

"On the intelligence collected by our services, and in the absence to date of chemical samples analyzed by our own laboratories, France considers, beyond possible doubt, a chemical attack was carried out against civilians at Douma. and that there is no plausible scenario other than that of an attack by Syrian armed forces", the report said.

The mission of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to probe the use of chemical weapons in Syria's Douma stalled on Monday amid USA accusations against Russian Federation that it meddled with the site of the attack.



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