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Worldwide chemical weapons inspectors reach Syrian town

Worldwide chemical weapons inspectors reach Syrian town

Worldwide chemical weapons inspectors reach Syrian town

The US envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said on Monday he was concerned Russian Federation may have "tampered with" the site of the Douma attack.

Nauert added that she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had been able to see the site but "our understanding is that the team has not entered Douma".

The two officials said the administration had no plans to announce Syria-related sanctions on Russia this week, although they noted that two entities were hit with such penalties last month in a largely overlooked portion of a sanctions package that dealt mainly with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and hacking. She stressed that it is Russian Federation and Syria that bear the responsibility for the security of the OPCW experts.

The purported chemical incident in Douma allegedly took place on April 7.

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.

The OPCW visit to Douma came hours after Syrian media reported airstrikes Tuesday on government military installations in the central Homs region and the suburbs of Damascus, but the military later said a false alarm had set off air defense systems.

Mrs May added that it was "legally and morally right" for the United Kingdom to join air strikes against the Syrian regime to prevent "further human suffering". A Pentagon spokeswoman said there was no USA military activity in the area.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry, in a statement, accused the Syrian government and Russian Federation of deliberately barring the OPCW from entering Douma in the past few days so that the evidence of the suspected gas attack disappeared without a trace.

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The British mission to the OPCW also added fuel to the fire by tweeting that "Russia and Syria have not yet allowed access to Douma".

Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected Western allegations against Russian Federation as "groundless", asserting that Moscow has consistently supported an "objective" investigation into the suspected gas attack.

Trump's choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

In 2018, tensions have escalated even further over the US decision to expel Russian diplomats over Moscow's alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom city of Salisbury.

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Mr Lavrov told the BBC in an interview.

Syria denies any chemical attack took place stating it was "staged".

The AP visited a two-room underground shelter where Khaled Mahmoud Nuseir said 47 people were killed, including his pregnant wife and two daughters, 18-month-old Qamar and 2 1/2-year-old Nour.

"Very careful scientific analysis was used to determine where best to target these missiles to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risk to the surrounding area", she said.

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