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Syria envoy says United Nations security team visits alleged attack site
21 April 2018, 10:03 | Lionel James
A missile is seen crossing over Damascus Syria after US France and Britain fired 105 missiles
The U.S. ambassador to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said on April 16 that the Russians might have already visited the site of the alleged poison-gas attack, and expressed concern that "they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission".
The alleged gas attack, which Syrian activists say killed more than 40 people, prompted punitive U.S., British and French airstrikes.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied the accusation, telling BBC he can "guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site". A Pentagon spokeswoman said there was no USA military activity in the area.
Stating that the alleged use, if true, is deplorable, Ambassador Venu Rajamony pointed out that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, can not be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable.
Syria and Russian Federation deny unleashing poison gas on April 7 during their offensive on Douma, which ended with the recapture of the town that had been the last rebel stronghold near the capital, Damascus.
The OPCW experts are tasked with finding out whether chemical weapons were used in the April 7 strike.
The coalition attack also forced the Syrian authorities and the Russian military to change route plans and once again negotiate with some local groups in Douma to facilitate the safe access of the OPCW investigators to the site of the alleged chemical attack.
The AP visited a two-room underground shelter where Khaled Mahmoud Nuseir said 47 people were killed, including his pregnant wife and two daughters, 18-month-old Qamar and 2 1/2-year-old Nour.
Uzumcu told an emergency meeting of the organization in The Hague that Russian and Syrian officials have informed the OPCW team that there were "still pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place".
Several said a unusual smell started spreading and people screamed: "It's chlorine!"
The White house, which is apparently looking for a pretext to justify the missile attack, claims that Moscow has failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria gets rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Britain, along with the United States and France, launched airstrikes on Saturday against targets in Syria over a reported chemical weapons attack.
Both Syria, which denies any chemical use, and Russian Federation, which provides military support to the Syrian government, have reacted against the action. According to Syrian state media, the country's air defenses had responded to a missile attack over the western city of Homs.
"For we can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere", May said.
However, Russia has repeatedly denied all allegations.
As CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports, rebel forces had held Douma nearly since the start of the war in Syria, now more than seven years old, and the government's fight to take it back was fierce.
"The problem was that the experts of the OPCW had no permission to come to the scene in Douma".
Jerry Smith, a former chemical weapons inspector in Syria and founder of the RameHead Consulting International security firm, warned that a substance like chlorine could "disappear in a couple of hours".
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