Worldwide chemical inspectors launch probe in Syria

US, France, UK to brief NATO allies today on Syria strikes

On April 1, gunfire wounded six people on a convoy of buses ferrying opposition fighters and civilians from Eastern Ghouta towards the northwestern province of Idlib, the Observatory said.

US President Donald Trump lauded the "perfectly executed" strike, the biggest worldwide attack on President Bashar al-Assad's regime during Syria's seven-year war, but both Damascus and Syria's opposition rubbished its impact.

The MoD said the facility was a former missile base, located around 15 miles west of Homs, where the Syrian regime was believed to keep a stockpile of chemical weapon precursors, which can be used to make blister agents such as mustard gas or nerve agents such as sarin. Obama opted to seek congressional approval over the use of military force in Syria.

The governments of the US, UK and France say 105 missiles were launched at three sites in Syria as part of a coordinated operation early on the morning of 14 April, at around 4am local time. "We sent a clear message to Assad and his murderous lieutenants that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons' attack for which they will be held accountable".

Rescuers and medics have said the alleged attack killed more than 40 people, but Damascus and Moscow have dismissed the reports as "fabrications". It gave no other details on the intelligence.

Security permitting, a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will deploy briefly on Saturday to the site.

Despite a U.S. -Russian agreement to completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program after hundreds of people were gassed with sarin in Ghouta on August 21, 2013, the OPCW had been unable to verify that all manufacturing, storage and research facilities were destroyed. The OPCW has yet to disclose whether it has begun an on-site inspection.

He also said that despite Syria's commitment in 2013 to destroying its chemical arsenal - and Russia's promise to supervise to it - "the Assad Regime and Russian Federation has made a complete mockery of that pledge".

A United Nations-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism also looked at responsibility for chemical weapons use.

Trump launched a military strike against the Syrian regime almost one year ago targeting a government airbase also in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians. The Security Council is deadlocked over how to replace it. The last target was a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.

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