Chemical weapons inspectors to start work as rebels leave Douma

Goal of Syria strikes was to prevent chemical watchdog's fact-finding mission in Douma – Moscow

OPCW has a responsibility "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic", according to the statement.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have met Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

The mission will try to determine whether chemical weapons were released and, if so, what agents were used.

Early on Saturday, Washington and its allies unleashed more than 100 missiles on civilian and military facilities in Syria in response to an alleged gas attack in Douma that has been widely blamed on Bashar Assad's government.

Trump's letter to congressional leaders cites the rationale he gave publicly Friday night when he announced that the USA and allies Britain and France were firing missiles into Syria in response to an alleged poison gas attack on Syrian rebels near Damascus the previous week.

The report, which provided a broad outline of the Syrian government-backed offensive supported by Russian Federation on the eastern Ghouta region over recent months, also said French services had assessed that not all Syrian government chemical stockpiles and capacities had been declared to the United Nations. "I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", he told the BBC.

Syrian flags flew in Douma on Monday, security forces stood on street corners and Russian military police patrolled the streets.


The Russian military said most of the missiles were countered with anti-aircraft defense systems. State aid trucks handed out bread, rice and pasta to people who had lived under siege for years.

Doctors at the hospital where suspected victims were treated told reporters on the tour that none of the patients that night had suffered chemical weapons injuries - they were asphyxiated by dust and smoke in a bombardment. But it will not seek to identify who used such weapons.

It said Syria had not answered questions on matters including possible remaining stocks of yperite (mustard gas) and DF (a sarin precursor), undeclared chemical weapons of small caliber and signs VX and sarin on production and loading sites.

At a meeting in Luxembourg, the 28 European Union foreign ministers endorsed the missile strikes and considered steps to deepen Assad's isolation.

The mission of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to probe the use of chemical weapons in Syria's Douma stalled on Monday amid United States accusations against Russian Federation that it meddled with the site of the attack.

The Western leaders also faced scrutiny at home over their actions.

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