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Ryabkov: OPCW experts can not enter Douma without United Nations permission
21 April 2018, 10:04 | Vickie Mathis
US official says Russia could cover traces of chemical attack near Damascus
They arrived in Douma more than a week after the USA government and its allies accused President Bashar al-Assad of killing his own people with poison gas in the April 7 attack.
The U.S. said it was considering imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation and a decision would be taken in the near future.
Earlier Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the inspectors could not go to the site because they needed approval from the United Nations.
It was immediately unknown who carried out the attack, with Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb saying, "There are no US or coalition operations in that area".
Until Saturday, Douma was the last rebel-held town near Damascus, and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.
The UK envoy to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, on Monday accused Syria and Russian Federation of blocking the team's access to the site, which Russian Federation denied.
More than 11 days have passed since a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria left dozens of people dead, yet it is still unclear when independent investigators will gain access to the site to work out what happened.
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the United States, Great Britain and France have violated worldwide law and hurt peace process in Syria by launching airstrikes at targets in Damascus.
But "strangers entered as we were in a state of chaos and spread a rumour among people there had been a chemical attack, and people became alarmed".
The White house, which is apparently looking for a pretext to justify the missile attack, claims that Moscow has failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria gets rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Sites near Damascus and Homs were hit on Saturday by the US, French and United Kingdom in response to the alleged chemical attack on Douma on 7 April.
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.
"And on Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts", he added. The inspectors "are now being prevented from doing so by the regime and the Russians", Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain said in Parliament, the media reported. It also reported a separate air strike on the Dumayr air base near Damascus.
Western states have blamed the Syrian government forces for the incident, but Damascus has denied using chemical weapons. Israel did not confirm or deny mounting the raid.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says Syria and Russian Federation - whose forces now control the town east of Damascus - are trying to cover up evidence. Government forces and Russian troops have been deployed in Douma, which is now controlled by the Syrian government. Britain denies the allegation.
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