Chemical weapons team kept from alleged attack site in Syria

17 April, 2018, 18:07 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A Syrian soldier sprays water on the wreckage of a building described as part of the Scientific Studies and Research Center compound in the Barzeh district north of Damascus during a press tour organised by the Syrian information ministry on Apr

Earlier in the week, Germany said it would not participate in any airstrikes against the Syrian regime.

As the diplomatic fallout of Saturday's airstrikes continued, the United Kingdom on Monday accused Russian Federation and Syria of blocking experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from accessing Douma, the site of the suspected gas attack. But the British delegation to the OPCW said Russian Federation and Syria had not yet allowed inspectors access to Douma. He said government officials met with the delegation several times to discuss cooperation. The Pentagon says none of the missiles filed by the USA and its allies was deflected by Syrian air defenses, rebutting claims by the Russian and Syrian governments.

USA envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said: "It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site".

On Monday, the White House walked back her statement and said that it has not yet made a decision on sanctions on Russian Federation. "Russia and Syria must cooperate".

The Kremlin quickly denied reports that Russian Federation was not allowing the OPCW mission in, without elaborating.

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In Moscow, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the mission was not allowed in because it lacked approval from the United Nation's Department for Safety and Security.

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The report comes a few days after the U.S., Britain and France conducted airstrikes targeting alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that they blamed on the Syrian government. The OPCW fact-finding team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.

The US has raised the prospect of more sanctions against Russian Federation.

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So-called Islamic State do not have a presence in Douma and the opposition does not use helicopters, she said. They asked victims to report any infections so they could better understand the impact of the campaign.


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RAF jets launched missiles at the weekend which targeted military bases thought to have been holing chemical weapons.

Jens Stoltenberg said the strikes were a "clear message" to Syrian President Bashar Assad, to Russian Federation and Iran that the use of chemical weapons is not acceptable and that the allies would not stand by and watch. He spoke in an interview with Turkey's NTV television on Monday.

Hundreds of Syrians gathered in a landmark square in Damascus on Monday to show support for the Syrian government's armed forces after the airstrikes by the US and its allies, The Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, Syria's state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast interviews with almost a dozen doctors and medics who said they found no trace of poison gas in Douma.

Protesters in Omayyad Square waved Syrian flags at the demonstration, dubbed a "salute to the achievements of the Arab Syrian Army", set off fireworks and unleashed celebratory gunfire.

And by Saturday morning an unverified video was released showing Bashar Assad, in suit and tie and briefcase in hand, going to work as usual.

Addressing reporters during a press conference in Beijing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said any military action that bypasses the UN Security Council is in breach of global law, and only complicates the Syrian conflict.

Douma was the last rebel holdout in the eastern Ghouta enclave, which was the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of people.

But it later admitted that it was a false alarm, not outside aggression, that triggered Syrian air defenses.

Despite being in the area, the Cook didn't fire a shot - and it possibly served as a distraction while cruise missiles poured in from ships, submarines, and jets in an attack that the Pentagon says succeeded in that each hit.

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