Sunday, 13 October, 2019

Chemical weapons experts enter Syria's Douma

Chemical weapons experts enter Syria's Douma Chemical weapons experts enter Syria's Douma
Patty Aguilar | 20 April, 2018, 02:36

The officials were greeted by a "large crowd" of protesters at one site, forcing them to withdraw while at the second site "they were subject to small-arms fire and an explosion", Wilson said, citing information from the OPCW director general.

"We have not only seen chemical weapons being used in Syria but we have seen them being used on the streets of Britain by President Bashar al-Assad's main backer Russian Federation".

A United Nations source told VOA that none of the United Nations security team members were injured during the incident.

"At present, we do not know when the team can be deployed to Douma", Uzumcu added in a statement.

Russian Federation and Syria deny that toxic gas was used in Douma.

Another member of the organisation said he was anxious proof that toxic substances had been used was being tampered with, particularly the burial site.

The OPCW's Uzumcu said the organization's team, which arrived in Damascus over the weekend, will not visit Douma until the United Nations security experts deem it safe and only if the chemical-weapons inspectors "can have unhindered access to the sites".

"As we have made clear, the United States agrees with the U.K.'s assessment that Russian Federation is responsible for this use of chemical weapons on U.K. soil - either through deliberate use or through its failure to declare and secure its stocks of this nerve agent", it said.

The OPCW chief said the two suspected attack sites were under the control of the Russian military police.

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told the Security Council on Tuesday that the OPCW experts would begin their investigation once they received the all-clear from the UN security team.

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But delays and security fears have cast uncertainty over the current fact-finding mission (FFM).

Russian Federation and the Syrian government deny responsibility for the alleged attack.

Al-Ikhbariya TV says the fighters from the Army of Islam rebel group and their families have begun evacuating the town of Dumayr, bound for opposition-held areas in the north as part of the agreement.

It says the total number of evacuees has reached 5,000, including 1,500 gunmen.

The Syrian "White Helmets" rescue organization, which operates largely in rebel-held areas, said on Wednesday that it had pinpointed for worldwide inspectors the places where the victims of the chemical attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were yet to reach the town of Douma, just outside Damascus, where more than 40 people were reported killed almost two weeks ago.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday the U.S. did not believe the inspectors had entered Douma, and that the evidence was at risk of decaying as delays dragged on.

US military officials have said the strikes were created to send a powerful message to Syria and its backers, showing that the United States, Britain and France could slice through the nation's air defense systems at will.

Global chemical weapons inspectors do not appear to have visited the site of a suspected attack in Syria after days of delays by Syrian and Russian authorities.

There was no comment from the OPCW or the United Nations on Wednesday.

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