Syria chemical attack: Investigators allowed to visit site

OPCW experts expected to arrive in Douma on Wednesday

OPCW experts expected to arrive in Douma on Wednesday

However, the WHO is working with the country's authorities to arrange a visit for a health assessment mission to the site of the alleged chemical attack as soon as possible, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told RIA Novosti.

The lack of access to Douma by inspectors from the watchdog group, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has left unanswered questions about the attack.

Hours earlier, Syrian government-run media said the country's air defenses confronted a new "aggression", shooting down missiles over the central region of Homs and a suburb of Damascus.

Douma was the last rebel-held town near Damascus, and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands.

Fact-finding teams sent to access the site are not being allowed in.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the Syrian government to ensure global chemical weapons inspectors are able to work without restrictions.

Meanwhile, Britain has said it based its assertion that Syria was to blame for a chemical attack on intelligence and on open source information. The team arrived in Syria on Saturday.

Dr. Daghestani says some of his family members could be part of the society attacked previously by the Syrian government.

Instead he said it was the United States, France and Britain who were "standing in the way" of the investigation by ordering air strikes "in the blink of an eye" before the OPCW team had had a chance to do their work.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said his country is "fully ready" to cooperate with the OPCW mission.

A Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters: "There is no USA military activity in that area at this time". A odd smell lingered, nine days after the attack.

The Russian military said last week its officers in Douma found no evidence to support reports of a gas attack.

It didn't say who carried out the early Tuesday airstrikes.

May said a barrel bomb - a large container packed with fuel, explosives and scraps of metal - was used to deliver chemical weapons and that a regime helicopter hovered over the city at the time of the attack.

Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied the claims, saying the OPCW needed United Nations permission before anyone could travel to the area.

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Lavrov told the BBC on Monday. "Therefore allegations of this towards Russian Federation are groundless", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials have gone even further, accusing Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack.

"The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria can not be a justification for military airstrikes in a territory of a sovereign state without the authorisation of the UNSC".

Tensions continue in Syria after this weekend's joint airstrikes by the U.S., United Kingdom and France. Trump was also willing to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, she added, while indicating that no such encounter was imminent. He spoke in an interview with Turkey's NTV television.

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