Russian Federation calls on West to stop meddling with OPCW work in Syria

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2018

A team of worldwide inspectors entered the town near Damascus that was the scene of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Tuesday, Syrian state TV reported.

It is not clear when an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons fact-finding mission will be able to travel safely to Douma, Syria, the British ambassador to the body said on Wednesday.

"And now, the inspectors have reached Douma (a city in Syria and site of a presumable chemical attack)".

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is "futile" since Washington and its allies already identified who the "culprits" are, referencing the US-led attack on Syria.

Western countries say scores of civilians sheltering from bombs were gassed to death in Douma on April 7.

The presidents of Turkey and Iran on Tuesday vowed to press on with their alliance alongside Russian Federation over Syria, the Turkish presidency said Tuesday, after Ankara backed strikes by the US and its allies against the Assad regime.

Both Russia and its ally, President Bashar al-Assad's government, have denied using chemical weapons in their war against armed opposition groups in Syria.

Saturday's air strikes were the first co-ordinated Western strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's government in a seven-year war that has killed more than 500,000 people and drawn in global powers and neighbouring states.

The Syrian army began preparatory shelling on Tuesday for an assault on the last area outside its control near Damascus, a commander in the pro-government alliance said.

Separately, Syrian state television has reported a missile attack near Homs targeting Shayrat airbase. Yarmouk, Syria's biggest camp for Palestinian refugees, has been under the control of Islamic State fighters for years.

Nebenzia said the Western allies should also end "hateful rhetoric" against Syria and Russian Federation, separate military groups "from terrorists once and for all", and provide humanitarian assistance to Syria. He showed CBS News what he said was the origin of the deadly gas: a missile on the roof of the building.

"Before the air strikes, we noted the readiness of the Syrian government to participate in the Geneva negotiations", Nebenzia said.

The Pentagon denied any American military activity in the area.

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