Chemical weapon inspectors visit Damascus' Douma for 2nd time

Updated 2018-04-26 11:09:03 Xinhua

The chemical weapon inspectors visited Syrian capital Damascus' eastern district of Douma on Wednesday, marking their second visit to the site since arriving in Syria on April 14.

In a statement, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said its fact-finding mission that was dispatched to Syria earlier this month visited Douma on Wednesday after their first visit on April 21.

It added that the team visited another site Wednesday and collected samples that will be send to the OPCW laboratory in the Netherlands, as the team is inspecting the alleged chemical attack on Douma that took place ahead of the rebels' evacuation from Douma on April 7.

Meanwhile, the OPCW said the Russian delegation to the OPCW will organize a briefing for States Parties in The Hague on April 26, adding that the delegation would bring some Syrians to question about the reported Douma incident.

The statement pointed out that in line with previous requests by the OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu, the Russian delegation was advised that the witnesses should be first interviewed by the fact-finding mission.

It recommended that the briefing should take place after the investigators finish their work in Syria.

However, the Russian delegation decided to go ahead with the briefing while noting that it has no intension to interfere in the work of the inspectors, according to the OPCW statement.

Meanwhile, the OPCW said the fact-finding mission in Syria will continue its "independent and impartial mission" based on interviews with relevant people, as well as its findings from the site visits, analysis of the sample results, and other information and materials collected.

The arrival of the OPCW team came after the Syrian government invited the OPCW to investigate the April 7 incident, in which the rebels and activists accused the Syrian forces of using chlorine gas in an attack on Douma.

At the time, the Syrian government denied the allegations and said the rebels and their foreign backers were fabricating events to attract foreign military action.

On April 14, the United States, France and Britain launched a series of missile strikes on Syrian positions over the allegations, and the OPCW team arrived on the same day after the strikes were over.

However, the Syrian government maintained that it demands an inspection into the allegations to "expose the lies of the Western powers."

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