losangelesnewstoday.com May 24, 2018

Chemical Weapons Watchdog in Syria to Begin Probe on Wednesday

21 April 2018, 10:05 | Maryann Sutton

Prime Minister Theresa May says Syria strikes was important in preventing any future use of chemical weapons

Prime Minister Theresa May says Syria strikes was important in preventing any future use of chemical weapons

The weekend missile strikes by the US, Britain and France were in response to an alleged chlorine and sarin gas attack in Douma on April 7 in which 40 people were said to have been killed.

Haley on Sunday said new US sanctions on Russian Federation would be announced on Monday by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, but the White House said no such decision had been made.

The sources said the UN-affiliated investigators were in the area but had not yet been able to access the sites they meant to inspect.

It was the first time MPs had the chance to question Mrs May over her decision to join the U.S. and France in attacking Syria due to the Easter break.

"Do we sit back, do we defend (human) rights by saying, 'Rights are for us, principles are for us, and realities are for others?' No, no!" the French leader said.

Douma was the last town held by rebels in the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, until they surrendered the day after the alleged gas attack.

The AP visited a two-room underground shelter where Khaled Mahmoud Nuseir said 47 people were killed, including his pregnant wife and two daughters, 18-month-old Qamar and 2 1/2-year-old Nour.

OPCW director-general Ahmet Uzumcu said Syrian and Russian officials cited "pending security issues" in keeping its inspectors from reaching Douma.

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Several said a unusual smell started spreading and people screamed: "It's chlorine!"

Russian state-run media outlet TASS said a team from its conflict monitoring center in Syria had examined Douma on April 9, two days after the alleged attack, and found no sign of chemical use.

"For we can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized - either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom or elsewhere", May said. He showed CBS News what he said was the origin of the deadly gas: a missile on the roof of the building.

Nauert added that she was aware of reports from Syria that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had been able to see the site but "our understanding is that the team has not entered Douma". It also reported a separate air strike on the Dumayr air base near Damascus.

The team was widely expected to visit Douma on Wednesday, but a United Nations security team carrying out reconnaissance in the city came under fire Tuesday, further delaying experts from going in, a UN source told CNN.

Western states have blamed the Syrian government forces for the incident, but Damascus has denied using chemical weapons. Britain denies the allegation.

As CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports, rebel forces had held Douma nearly since the start of the war in Syria, now more than seven years old, and the government's fight to take it back was fierce.

The Russian military later said that it will help secure the visit of global chemical weapons inspectors to the site of the alleged attack.

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