Saturday, 19 June, 2021


Chemical weapons experts enter Syria's Douma

Do you know what I’m doing?     EPA Do you know what I’m doing? EPA
Bennie Garza | 20 April, 2018, 04:11

"At Site 2, the team came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated", he said, adding "the reconnaissance team returned to Damascus".

Dujarric told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY that "there is still a lot of volatility in the area".

President Trump praises unmatched skill of US military and allies; says USA -led operation sent message to the world.

An Associated Press team visited the site on a Syrian government-organized tour Monday, including a two-room underground shelter where one resident said 47 people were killed, including his pregnant wife and two young daughters.

De Mistura also plans to meet with Turkish, Russian and Iranian officials as well as officials from several European counties and the U.S.

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

A United Nations security team "on arrival at Site 1" were met by a large crowd and they were advised to withdraw, Uzumcu said.

On Tuesday, there had been conflicting reports about whether the OPCW experts had arrived in Douma. "No Russian servicemen were at the site of the incident".

A United Nations security team was sacked upon in the Syrian town of Douma this week while carrying out reconnaissance at the site of a suspected chemical attack, reported Reuters.

The experts from the OPCW chemical watchdog are awaiting the green light from the security team before beginning their on-site investigation in Douma of the alleged attack.

"At present, we do not know when the team can be deployed to Douma", he added.

But in the aftermath of the coordinated airstrikes, which hit a chemical weapons research center near Damascus and two storage facilities, US and British officials stressed that they had been extremely careful to avoid any civilian casualties.

The team was in Douma to survey conditions before chemical weapons experts were to inspect the site.

"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".

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

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told a closed-door meeting of his organization that it remains unclear when the team will be able to deploy to Douma, U.K. Ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters in The Hague.

"Russia developed the type of military-grade nerve agent used in Salisbury and has a record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations".

It added that "only the government of Russian Federation has the motive, means, and record to conduct such an attack".

The Russian military said Tuesday in state media it had discovered a chemical laboratory and warehouse in Douma allegedly run by "militants".

There were also reports on Wednesday of fighters from the Jaish Al Islam rebel faction, known as the 'Army of Islam, ' continuing to hand over their heavy and intermediate weapons in the Damascus suburb of Dumayr ahead of their departure to the northern town of Jarabulus.

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

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.

Syrian state television reported that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had entered the site where Western countries say scores of civilians were gassed to death on April 7.

The U.N. -mandated Independent International Commission on Syria has documented more than 30 chemical attacks in Syria between 2013 and the end of 2017 - and says at least 25 of them were carried out by the Syrian military.

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

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