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Weapons inspectors 'barred entry to Douma'

17 April 2018

Moscow immediately denied the charge and blamed delays on retaliatory US-led missile strikes on Syria at the weekend.

Both Syria and its ally Russian Federation have said they would guarantee the safety and security of the OPCW mission - the first outside Damascus since 2014.

Chemical weapons experts are due to arrive in Douma on Wednesday to probe an alleged poison gas attack, Russian officials said, as the USA voiced fears Moscow may already have "tampered with" evidence at the site.

Russia - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main military backer - denied interfering with evidence at the site of the suspected chemical attack, asserting that it has consistently supported an investigation into the suspected gas attack.

The global chemical weapons organisation has recorded more than 390 alleged incidents of illicit use of poisonous munitions in Syria since 2014, the British envoy to the organisation said on Monday, calling for members to take collective action. I'm sure Russian Federation will be providing that irrefutable proof any day now, just as soon as they finish scrubbing the Douma site of any evidence and blocking inspectors from doing their jobs.

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"They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical-weapons use", Haley said.

The United States, United Kingdom and France launched missile strikes on a number of targets in Syria at 4 a.m. local time on Saturday in retaliation for the so-purported the chemical use.

OPCW officials have carried out similar chemical checks in Syria.

Rebels had captured it in 2012, and Syrian government fighters had not entered it since.

OPCW inspectors have raised questions about the SSRC since 2013, when Damascus joined the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to do away with its stockpile to avert threatened strikes under President Barack Obama.

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On Saturday, the Syrian army said the regime had retaken all of Eastern Ghouta after the last rebels left Douma.

The agency, set up to ensure the destruction of chemical armaments, is due to assess the scene and take samples from alleged attack victims to determine the cause and potentially uncover the perpetrators.

At least 40 people were killed in the Douma attack.

Despite a US-Russian agreement to completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program after hundreds of people were gassed with sarin in Ghouta on August 21, 2013, the OPCW had been unable to verify that all manufacturing, storage and research facilities were destroyed.

Russian ambassador Shulgin repeated the accusations telling reporters in The Hague that Douma residents had not been able to produce "a single body".

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Weapons inspectors 'barred entry to Douma'