OPCW inspectors to be allowed in to Douma

AFPThree targets were hit with missiles
AFPThree targets were hit with missiles
Author

21 April, 2018

"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 Associated Press spoke to survivors and witnesses who described being hit by gas.

But "strangers entered as we were in a state of chaos and spread a rumour among people there had been a chemical attack, and people became alarmed".

The site visit came hours after reports of more worldwide air strikes on Syrian military installations. According to Syrian state media, the country's air defenses had responded to a missile attack over the western city of Homs.

"These strikes don't necessarily resolve anything but I think they were important", he said.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry, in a statement, accused the Syrian government and Russian Federation of deliberately barring the OPCW from entering Douma in the past few days so that the evidence of the suspected gas attack disappeared without a trace.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied the accusation, telling BBC he can "guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site".

Until Saturday, Douma was the last rebel-held town near Damascus, and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

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.

The say the airstrikes last Saturday by the three nations were "limited, proportionate and necessary" and followed "only after exhausting every possible diplomatic option to uphold the worldwide norm against the use of chemical weapons".

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The United Nation vehicle carrying the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors is seen in Damascus, Syria April 17, 2018.

"It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site", US Ambassador Kenneth Ward said at an OPCW meeting in The Hague on Monday.

"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.

The Group of Seven leading industrialized nations has issued a joint statement endorsing the USA -led air strikes in Syria.

Mrs May added that it was "legally and morally right" for the United Kingdom to join air strikes against the Syrian regime to prevent "further human suffering".

Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria's T4 air base, also in Homs.

The reports did not say who carried out the pre-dawn strikes, which were reported by Syrian state TV and the government-run Syrian Central Media. Israel did not confirm or deny the allegations.

The UK participated in the strikes in response to an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian regime on the rebel-held area of Douma on 7 April.

The alleged attack and subsequent military response underscored the challenge that the seven-year conflict in Syria poses for the West. President Donald Trump wants to remove USA troops from Syria, where it has been fighting the Islamic State militants.

Syrian and Russian forces gained control over Douma on Saturday when rebels withdrew from the town, hours after the end of the Western countries' attacks.


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