21 April, 2018
The United States, Britain, and France say the Syrian government was behind the attack, and launched a wave of missiles targeting Syrian military installations on Saturday as punishment.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis blamed the Syrian government for delays in inspectors reaching the sites and said it has a history of trying to "clean up the evidence before the investigation team gets in".
Damascus and its ally Moscow deny that any gas attack took place, that they are holding up the inspections or that they have tampered with evidence at the site.
The Syrian "White Helmets" rescue organization, which operates in rebel-held areas, has pinpointed for the OPCW team the places where victims of the suspected attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.
Stating that the alleged use, if true, is deplorable, Ambassador Venu Rajamony pointed out that the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances, can not be justified and the perpetrators of such abhorrent acts must be held accountable.
Douma was the last town to hold out in the besieged eastern Ghouta enclave, the last big rebel bastion near the capital Damascus.
The Associated Press, during a government-organized visit Monday to Douma, spoke to survivors and witnesses who described being hit by gas.
The U.K.'s military intervention in Syria was clearly "in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria", Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday.
"Not even a day passed after the missile strikes when their organizers started putting forward unusual and political initiatives", Nebenzia said.
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At least 70 people were killed, but Syria denies the attack.
Syrian state media reported hours earlier that the country confronted yet another assault, shooting down missiles over the central region of Homs and a suburb of Damascus before dawn.
Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the air strikes were "legally questionable" and questioned the proof that the Assad regime was behind the chemical attack in Douma.
"The problem was that the experts of the OPCW had no permission to come to the scene in Douma".
The team has reportedly been in the country since Saturday (April 14) but was not given permission to visit Douma.
Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria's T4 air base, also in Homs.
Those who still want to accuse the Syrian and Russian authorities of neglecting their duties, by "blocking" the experts from accessing the site of the alleged chemical attack, apparently are willing to risk the OPCW investigators' lives to promote their "dirty fake news", Zakharova said. Israel did not confirm or deny mounting the raid. He denied that Russian Federation was hampering the mission and suggested the approval was held up because of the Western airstrikes. Government forces and Russian troops have been deployed in Douma, which is now controlled by the Syrian government.
The Russian military later said that it will help secure the visit of global chemical weapons inspectors to the site of the alleged attack.
"It was about a limited, targeted and effective strike that sought to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Syrian people by degrading the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability and deterring their use".