Air Strikes on Syria – Russia to allow OPCW inspectors in Douma
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Russia said that chemical weapons inspectors in Syria will be permitted to visit the site of an alleged chemical attack, on Wednesday. A representative of Russia’s military said late Monday that OPCW inspectors would be permitted to travel to Douma on Wednesday.
On Monday, Washington and London accused Moscow of blocking the nine OPCW inspectors from reaching the alleged gas attack site and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence there. Moscow denied the charge and blamed delays on retaliatory U.S.-led missile strikes on Syria on Saturday.
The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, if it goes ahead, as announced, will collect samples and look for clues to determine whether internationally prohibited chemical weapons were used, though it will not assign blame. Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) traveled to Syria last week to inspect the site, but have yet to gain access to Douma, which is now under government control after the rebels withdrew.
Igor Kirllov told journalists at The Hague that “Wednesday is when we expect the arrival of the OPCW experts and Russia is not preventing this in any way,” He added that Russia said its security forces would assist the OPCW inspectors. “It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ward said at an OPCW meeting in The Hague on Monday.
Also Monday, Russia’s envoy to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, released a statement accusing the the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets of using US funds to fake the suspected chemical attack. According to RT, Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said. “We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” the diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”