Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Syria conflict: Inspectors visit site of alleged gas attack

Syria conflict: Inspectors visit site of alleged gas attack

Almost a week after their arrival in Damascus, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had not yet been able to access Douma and investigate the site.

A bullish U.S. administration hailed the strikes as a success and argued a clear message had been sent to the Damascus regime that the use of chemical weapons would no longer go unpunished.

The inspection, now a fortnight after the alleged 7 April attack in which some 70 people were said to be killed, will take place after repeated delays.

Further stoking tensions was the purported chemical attack in Douma on April 7.

A United Nations security team touring the sites of the alleged attack on Tuesday was shot at and subjected to a blast but returned safely to Damascus, Dujarric said earlier.

Russian Federation then aggressively threatened the United States if it were to fire any missiles at Syria in response to the chemical gas attacks.

"This had nothing to do with killing people - it only had something to do with how you kill people", he said.

"The main thing is to stay within the framework of global law and we will be seeking that all our partners should follow precisely this course rather than try to play their geopolitical schemes to the detriment of the interests of the Syrian people", the Russian foreign minister said.

McKenzie said that the "absolute preponderance of the evidence" pointed to chemical weapons being present at the sites that were struck, including elements of sarin, particularly at the Barzah site.

"President Putin is ready for such a meeting", Lavrov said.

The US, UK and France say that, based on open-source information and their own intelligence, they are confident chlorine and possibly a nerve agent were used. "He understands Russian Federation can't compete with the West economically and he doesn't plan to go to war with the West".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that President Trump indicated he could visit Moscow if Russian leader Vladimir Putin comes to the United States.

The Kremlin is still coming to grips with the economic impact of the most punitive penalties the USA has imposed since first sanctioning Russian Federation four years ago, over the conflict in Ukraine.

This was underscored by two official USA statements on the April 13 attack.

Anti-Assad rebels hold a chunk of territory in the southwest and the northwest, and Kurdish-led militias, backed by the United States, control an expanse of northern and eastern Syria.

Lavrov told state television that Trump mentioned the possible trip when he called Putin on March 20 to congratulate him on his re-election to another six years in office.

Kudlow said additional sanctions are under consideration but have yet to be implemented.

One of the most outspoken critics of the Pentagon, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, said a proposed ban on selling rocket engines "would hurt Russian Federation more than the U.S." because of Moscow's dependence on American contracts.

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