Sunday, 27 May, 2018

Syrian, Russian Officials Block Inspectors From Gas Attack Site

Britain France and the US conducted targeted strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities over the weekend Syrian Canadians express mixed reaction to US-led airstrikes
Lillian Steele | 20 April, 2018, 01:12

But the U.S. Department of Defense said on Saturday that none of the missiles were downed.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday that Staffan de Mistura embarked on the consultations following a meeting Monday with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia "and in view of current tensions".

"The Syrian regime has reportedly been attempting to hide the evidence by searching evacuees from Douma to ensure samples are not being smuggled from this area, and a wider operation to hide the facts of the attack is under way, supported by the Russians", she said.

Dujarric said de Mistura held consultations with the Arab League secretary-general, foreign ministers including from Egypt, Jordan and Iraq and the European Union high representative, and joined Guterres at meetings with the king, crown prince and foreign minister of Saudi Arabia.

Also by playing a row around Russian diplomatic property in the U.S.as well as US pressure on the RT broadcaster's activities in the U.S.

Journalists were allowed access to the suspected attack sites on Monday, but the OPCW said Syrian and Russian authorities blocked the inspectors.

There were no casualties and the team returned to the capital.

"We are very much aware of the delay that the regime imposed on that delegation but we are also very much aware of how they have operated in the past and seal what they have done using chemical weapons", Mattis said.

The "mission has not been accomplished", said Suzanne Akhras, president of the Syrian Community Network.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) travelled to Syria last week to inspect the site, but have yet to gain access to Douma, which is now under government control after rebels withdrew.

He and two other residents accused the rebel Army of Islam of carrying out the attack.

"If this United Nations security team decides that the situation is sound in Douma, then the fact-finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow", Jaafari said.

"What we understand is that they are going to inspect and investigate the site of that alleged chemical weapons attack", said Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon. Eleven days have now passed since the incident with no independent inspection.

A diplomatic source in The Hague, where the OPCW is based, said the experts did not enter Douma.

Syria's ally Russian Federation was given prior notice and the missiles struck mostly empty buildings, in what many analysts saw as a hollow move that allowed all sides to save face. The Russian government accused the United Kingdom of staging the attack, which the British government says is "ludicrous".

Damascus and Moscow have broadcast statements from hospital workers in Douma - which medical aid groups operating in rebel areas have dismissed as propaganda - saying that no chemical attack took place. But many lawmakers feel the President needs congressional approval and used the hearing to argue for passage of a new Authorization of Military Force.

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