29 April, 2018
Russian diplomats are planning to bring a group of Syrians to the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog who the Russians claim were filmed in "staged videos" of an alleged chemical attack on the town of Douma earlier this month.
His comments came a day after worldwide donors pledged an estimated $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria and neighbors sheltering its refugees in 2018, falling significantly short of the more than $7 billion the United Nations is seeking.
Among those shuttled before the Organisation for the Prohibition for Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague, Netherlands, was an 11-year-old boy photographed after the claimed attack this month.
Similarly, Russia considered the strike to be a response to the success of the Syrian Armed Forces in fighting worldwide terrorism and liberating its territory, rather than a response to the alleged chemical attack.
Those nations headed by the United States, accused the Syrian government of carrying out the supposed chemical attack in the city of Duma, region of Eastern Ghouta, east of Damascus, false accusation rejected in a reiterative way by Syrian authorities.
Six days after the incident, Russia's Defense Ministry accused Britain of direct involvement in staging video images of alleged victims.
Due to multiple delays, the OPCW experts reached Douma only a week after they arrived in Syria.
OPCW has dispatched a team to look into the alleged attack.
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Russian Federation has defended the Assad regime amid claims it launched the April 7 attack. A number Syrian military airfields, industrial and research facilities were hit in the attacks. To buttress this argument is that the Syrian government may not have the motive to conduct the chemical attack on Douma as it holds the momentum and already is winning the war.
The statements provided by the 17 Syrian citizens will be challenged.
Responding to Russian plans to visit its headquarters in The Hague with the Syrians, the OPCW said it has advised the Russian delegation that "these persons should be first interviewed" by the inspectors who are in Damascus. His statement did not specify the weapons, but the remarks follow Russian media reports that Moscow is considering selling its S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria.
Isopropanol, more commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is found in disinfectants, cleaning agents, paints and varnishes, but it is also a major component of the type of gas used in recent suspected chemical attacks by the Assad regime.
Halil al-Jaish, a resuscitator who tended to people at the Douma hospital that day, told the press conference that some of the patients had indeed experienced respiratory problems. The area is the last district out of government control in Damascus and its capture would boost security in Assad's seat of power. Although President Assad agreed to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile in the Chemical Weapons Convention, chemical warfare still shows no sign of ending even after seven years of civil war and unrest.
Lebanon is home to some 1.2 million refugees, accounting for almost a quarter of its population.
"We are deeply concerned about the fate of thousands of civilians, including Palestine refugees, after more than a week of dramatically increased violence", said UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl.