Global Watchdog Awaits Access to Alleged Syria Chemical Site

Syrian soldiers hold their weapons as they dance and chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations following a wave of U.S. British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civi

Photos of the missile strike launched by the USA, the United Kingdom, and France on targets in Syria on Friday night appear to show Syrian defenses firing blindly and wildly missing. Failure to act to hold perpetrators to account will only risk further barbaric use of chemical weapons, in Syria and beyond. Some estimate that up to 500 people-mainly women and children-were hospitalized by the gas attack, which is said to have been carried out by the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The OPCW needs a two-thirds majority to take decisions, and faces the threat of being fatally weakened as Russian Federation and the west fight over the OPCW's mandate to ascribe responsibility for attacks. The western nations and the UN have always denounced extremism and terrorism (ironically, it has to be said), yet there seems to be this wilful desire to spread misinformation by claiming this attack as "humanitarian", when it is anything but if you consider the #Definition Of Terrorism. "We have not denied the team any request for it to go to Douma". Russia did not directly retaliate to the joint military action and later said in a statement that no missile entered the airspace controlled by the Russian forces in Syria.

Medical student Marwan Jaber said no chemical weapons were used on April 7.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said several coordination meetings were held with the OPCW team, but he did not provide any further details about their schedule. He said government officials met with the delegation, which has been in Damascus for three days, a number of times to discuss cooperation.

Syria has in the past accused the West of politically manipulating the OPCW mission.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain must "take every possible precaution" against any potential Russian counter-measures and acknowledged that recent relations between Moscow and London had "not been good". The OPCW fact-finding team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.

This of course doesn't rule out Assad, but it does raise some uncomfortable questions for those cheering yet another illegal U.S. military attack against a country that has been under attack for the past seven years by the same forces that attacked us on 9/11. The joint body was created in 2015 and found the Syrian government responsible for using sarin gas a year ago in Khan Shaykhoun, a rebel-held area in northern Syria.


Mr Lavrov maintains the Syrian chemical attack did not happen. "Unfettered access essential. Russian Federation and Syria must cooperate". He spoke in an interview with Turkey's NTV television.

Hundreds of Syrians gathered in a landmark square in Damascus on Monday to show support for the Syrian government's armed forces after the airstrikes by the USA and its allies, The Associated Press reported. Protesters waved Syrian flags at the demonstration, dubbed a "salute to the achievements of the Arab Syrian Army", set off fireworks and unleashed celebratory gunfire.

And by Saturday morning an unverified video was released showing Bashar Assad, in suit and tie and briefcase in hand, going to work as usual.

But there is still potential for the aggression to ramp up, particularly after Syria continued to strike rebel-held towns and Russian Federation warned of "chaos in global relations".

UPDATE: President Trump has, reports The Washington Post, "put the brakes" on new sanctions against Russian Federation.

Addressing reporters during a press conference in Beijing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said any military action that bypasses the UN Security Council is in breach of worldwide law, and only complicates the Syrian conflict.

Douma was the last rebel holdout in the eastern Ghouta enclave, which was the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of people. It said Syrian air defenses shot down most of the six missiles fired at the base.

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