Monday, 24 September, 2018

Russia: Chemical weapons inspection delayed due to West's airstrikes

MP tells of concern at UN over volatile US president during debate on Syria strikes Russia: Chemical weapons inspection delayed due to West's airstrikes
Kenny Thornton | 17 April, 2018, 09:55

Worldwide chemical weapons inspectors had not been able to visit Douma by Monday evening, with Britain saying Syria and Russian Federation had been unable to guarantee their safety, though Russian Federation blamed the delay on Saturday's Western airstrikes.

Doctors and aid organizations on the ground reported strong smells of chlorine, and described symptoms consistent with exposure to sarin, the senior USA officials said.

At least 40 people are believed to have died on 7 April in Douma, which until Saturday was the last rebel-held town near the capital and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

Pentagon officials on Saturday said they "assessed" that there were probably both chemical and nerve agents in the targets USA forces hit with missile strikes, but added that they had "successfully mitigated" against this in the way they attacked them.

Western powers accused the Syrian regime of conducting the strike and responded on April 14 with an unprecedented wave of missile strikes. However, they did find participants in the video's filming.

The targeted sites were largely empty and were all said to be facilities for chemical weapons storage or production.

Talks were held behind closed doors at the Netherlands seat of the Nobel Peace prize-winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, two days after its mission arrived in Damascus.

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"Syria reiterated its full readiness to coordinate and to facilitate the delegation's work", he was quoted as saying by the official state agency SANA.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said Syrian and Russian officials cited "pending security issues" in keeping its inspectors from reaching Douma. In the case of chlorine, it is permitted to possess it for civilian use, but not to use it as a weapon.

Opposition forces say Dumair airport had been used in the military campaign to regain eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus. It blamed Islamic State militants for mustard gas use.

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the BBC. The Security Council is deadlocked over how to replace it.

Following weekend missile strikes on Syria by the US, France, and Britain, Russia traded accusations with Western nations on Monday, dismissing as "a blatant lie" accusations that Moscow was hindering the investigation in Douma.

France, the United States and Britain circulated a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council late on Saturday that aims to establish a new independent inquiry into who is to responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

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