Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Russia: Chemical inspectors allowed access to Syria attack site

Russia: Chemical inspectors allowed access to Syria attack site

The lack of access to Douma by inspectors from the watchdog group, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has left unanswered questions about the attack.

Syrian state-run television says missiles targeted Shayrat air base in Homs province and another base northeast of the capital, Damascus.

The worldwide team has been in the country since Saturday, but has not been allowed to visit Douma.

Syrian and Russian officials deny any wrongdoing.

The South African government has reiterated its call for the peaceful resolution of conflict in Syria, following attacks in three separate areas in the country on Friday night.

Guterres said "it's the obligation of the Syrian government to provide all the conditions for them to work without any restrictions". The team arrived in Syria on Saturday. The Kremlin said on Tuesday both Putin and Merkel support the OPCW mission and hope for a thorough probe.

Instead he said it was the United States, France and Britain who were "standing in the way" of the investigation by ordering air strikes "in the blink of an eye" before the OPCW team had had a chance to do their work.

The two also agreed that Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation should continue to work together for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

The reports came just a few days after the United States, Britain and France conducted airstrikes targeting alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria, in retaliation for a suspected poisonous gas attack.

It did not elaborate or say who carried out the airstrikes.

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The government is also set to recover another rebel enclave south of Damascus around the town of Beit Sahm, the commander said, though this would happen through an agreement with the government by which fighters would leave for Idlib.

The say the airstrikes last Saturday by the three nations were "limited, proportionate and necessary" and followed "only after exhausting every possible diplomatic option to uphold the global norm against the use of chemical weapons".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied Moscow had interfered with any evidence.

The US envoy to the OPCW, however, expressed concern that Russian Federation had visited the site and "may have tampered with it" to impede the investigation.

Alexander Shulgin, the Russian envoy at the OPCW in The Hague, said allegations that Russia might destroy evidence reflected Washington's effort to justify Saturday's strikes.

"The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria can not be a justification for military airstrikes in a territory of a sovereign state without the authorisation of the UNSC". "Our American partners are clearly getting nervous".

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was not free to divulge the intelligence used in her country's assessment, but said in announcing the airstrikes that "a significant body of information, including intelligence, indicates the Syrian regime is responsible".

Tensions continue in Syria after this weekend's joint airstrikes by the U.S., United Kingdom and France.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday warned that if the strikes continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in global relations". He spoke in an interview with Turkey's NTV television.

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