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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

OPCW inspectors enter Douma to probe alleged gas attack: Russia

Iran Press TV

Sat Apr 21, 2018 03:58PM

Russia says experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have arrived in the Syrian town of Douma, where a suspected gas attack was carried out.

The Russian Foreign Ministry made the announcement on Saturday, saying the OPCW agents were at the site to probe the alleged attack of April 7 which was used as a pretext for a barrage of Western missile strikes against the Arab country.

The OPCW said in a statement that the team of inspectors "visited one of the sites in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic today to collect samples for analysis" in their investigation. "The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma," it added.

The organization said the samples collected in Douma will be analyzed at OPCW-designated laboratories and the team will draft a report based on the findings, "as well other information and materials collected by the team."

The alleged chemical weapons attack reportedly killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1,000 others in the town, located in Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.

Unverified media reports on the alleged chemical attack prompted the United States, Britain and France to blame Damascus and carry out a string of missile attacks on a number of targets in Syria on April 14.

The Syrian government strongly denied the allegation and called on the OPCW to send a fact-finding mission for investigations.

In a statement on Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged Western states to refrain from hindering the investigation of the OPCW into the alleged chemical attack.

"We are outraged by continuous distortions of facts and deliberate distortion of reality [on the Douma incident], that can be found in large quantities in statements by officials of a number of Western States," she added.

The OPCW fact-finding team was delayed for several days in its attempts to reach the town.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov Thursday blamed foreign-backed terrorists for the delay, saying that Douma militants still pose a threat to both citizens and the OPCW experts

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