Russia says chemical inspectors will be allowed into Douma

Following weekend missiles strikes on Syria by the US, UK and France, Russia said chemical weapons inspectors will be allowed into Douma 

Chemical weapons inspectors will arrive in Douma on Wednesday to probe an alleged chemical attack which took place last Saturday, Russia has said.

Following weekend missiles strikes on Syria by the US, UK and France, Russia has traded accusations with western nations on Monday, dismissing accusations that Moscow was ignoring the investigation as “a blatant lie”.

The international team of experts has been in the country since Saturday, but has not been allowed to visit Douma. Syrian and Russian officials had warned of “pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place”, Uzumcu said.

The US ambassador to the OPCW, Ken Ward, claimed the Russians had already visited the site and “may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission”. The Kremlin dismissed the claims. “I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site,” said foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Igor Kirillov, head of Russia’s radiological, biological and chemical protection unit, said the roads still had to be demined and cleared and would be tested by UN security services on Tuesday before inspectors could go in.

“On Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts,” he added at a press conference in the Russian embassy in The Hague.

Early on Tuesday, Syrian state media said the country's air defences had responded to a missile attack over the western city of Homs.  The missiles targeted Shayrat air base, it said - but did not say who fired the missiles.

A Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters: "There is no US military activity in that area at this time."

The missiles that US, French and British warships fired on suspected chemical facilities on Saturday constituted the biggest western attack against the regime in the seven-year war between Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and forces attempting to topple him.

The targeted sites were largely empty and were all said to be facilities for chemical weapons storage or production.

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe