Syria chemical attack: Russian Federation and Syria BLOCK inspectors from Douma

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2018

Haley said the measures would target companies that supplied Damascus with equipment and other material related to chemical weapons, which killed more than 40 people in Douma on April 7 and prompted US-led airstrikes.

Two days later, the fact-finding team said it has still not been granted permission by Syrian authorities to visit Douma, the town in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus where the attack is said to have taken place.

At least that's according to U.S. Ambassador Kenneth, who told members of a watchdog group that Russian officials were helping Syrian forces hide any evidence of the attack.

The delays prompted a bout of complaints from the United States and U.K, which both called on Syria and Russian Federation to allow the inspectors unfettered access.

Three sites were hit - the Barzeh complex, which the United States says is a centre for development, production and testing of chemical and biological weapons, although Syria denies this.

Russian and Syrian troops have since deployed in the area, which the Syrian army declared fully under government control on Sunday.

In interviews broadcast by the pro-government Al-Ikhbaria television channel, 13 medical workers, including nine doctors, said the symptoms they treated suggested that the patients were suffering from asthma, not the effects of a poison gas.

The Russian Foreign Minister asked: "Why the U.S. and its allies had carried out air strikes the day before worldwide inspectors were due to arrive at the site?"

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Petrov said: "We called for an objective investigation".

OPCW inspectors were expected to enter Douma aiming to collect samples, interview witnesses and document evidence to determine whether banned toxic munitions were used. "We have to be conscious of the fact that we can't allow even the smallest use of chemical weapons".

"We are considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation and a decision will be made in the near future", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday.

UK PM Theresa May will make a statement to parliament after the opposition said it was wrong to have launched military action without consulting MPs.

According to Hamilton 68, a website set up by researchers working with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a transatlantic project set up to counter Russian disinformation campaigns - Syria is the leading hashtag on social media accounts identified as part of Russia-linked influence networks.

The United States, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at three alleged chemical weapons facilities on Friday, angering the Syrian regime's military backer Moscow, which threatened to retaliate.

The Syrian government surrendered its chemical weapons stockpile in 2014 during a process monitored by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Sunday announced the sanctions and President Donald Trump's commitment to staying involved in the Syria crisis, hours before French President Emmanuel Macron took credit for helping turn around Trump's plan to withdraw U.S. troops.

Speaking of Assad and his suspected role in last week's chemical weapons attack, Trump said, "These are not the actions of a man. It is the only way to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the future".

"Russia confirms its commitment to ensure safe (sic) and security of the mission and will not interfere in its work", the Russian embassy in The Hague said in a tweet.

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