United Nations in security talks with Syria after chemical probe put on hold

Image      Chemical weapons experts are to be allowed into Douma more than a week after the suspected attack
Image Chemical weapons experts are to be allowed into Douma more than a week after the suspected attack

21 April, 2018

The Russian state-run propaganda machine, backed by official statements has claimed the toxic gas attack in the town Douma in the East Ghouta suburb of Damascus on April 7-which the worldwide community attributed to the al-Assad regime-was a "provocation", deliberately staged to create a pretext for a Western intervention to harm the Syrian government and Russian interests.

Russian Federation and Syria have been accused by western diplomats of preventing representatives of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons from accessing the site to try to establish the facts of what happened.

Speaking alongside White at a Pentagon news conference, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the U.S.is confident — but not 100 percent certain — that chemical agents were present at all three sites attacked.

USA and French authorities say that the poison gas attack, which killed at least 40 people and injured more than 500, was the work of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon said that all 105 missiles fired at three Syrian chemical facilities reached their targets, while the Russian military said Syrian air defences downed 71 out of 103 United States missiles.

A visit by chemical weapons inspectors to the site of a suspected gas attack in Syria was delayed on April 16, British and Russian officials said, as Western powers and Russia traded accusations in the aftermath of retaliatory USA -led missile strikes.

Assad's government denies using chemical weapons, and Russian Federation has offered competing explanations for the chaotic scenes of April 7, first denying that an attack took place, then saying it had been staged by rebels.

She added, "Administration and congressional officials said the hawkish Mr. Bolton is not expected to defer to the defense secretary; already, neoconservative members of the Republican foreign policy establishment have started to air concerns that Mr. Mattis is ceding strategic territory to Iran and Russian Federation in Syria".

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The visit to the area by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been put on hold after a team came under small arms fire and returned to Damascus earlier this week.

Their destination was Jarablus, a town under shared Turkish and Syrian opposition control near the Syria-Turkey border.

The White House on Thursday denied that secretary of defence James Mattis had advised U.S. president Donald Trump against striking Syria before seeking Congress sanction.

We have seen no indication the #Assad regime is prepared to launch another chemical weapons attack. Colorful charts were used at a briefing in Moscow to demonstrate how effective the Russian-organized Syrian defenses were.

But inspectors say they were shot at at during a reconnaissance trip on Tuesday.

Russian Federation has denied the charges, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Syrian state media say hundreds of rebels fighters in a town northeast of Damascus have handed in their weapons and started to leave under an evacuation deal.

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