What we know about the OPCW mission to Syria


"The team has not yet deployed to Douma", Uzumcu told the organization's emergency talks.

The attack, which killed more than 40 people, has drawn global outrage and prompted the U.S. and its allies to consider a military strike on Syria, something Moscow has strongly warned against.

In remarks that could indicate an attempt to bog down the OPCW team, Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the inspectors will not be allowed to access the site until they produce an appropriate United Nations permit.

Syrian air defenses intercepted most of the incoming missiles, according to the report, which urged citizens not to believe other media reports "intentionally or unintentionally" exaggerating the results of the attack.

A team of chemical weapons experts is expected to arrive in the Syrian town of Douma on Wednesday to probe an alleged poison gas attack, Russian officials told reporters, after Moscow was accused of "tampering" with evidence.

He denied that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was responsible.

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The four nations confronted each other intense emergency talks at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague as inspectors prepare for a hard and unsafe mission.

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Lavrov said in an interview with the BBC.

It also slammed the United States, saying the weekend strikes on three facilities in Syria were a bid "to undermine the credibility" of the mission.

The targeted sites were largely empty but US President Donald Trump hailed a "perfectly executed" operation.

Deputy Russian foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov blamed Western air strikes carried out on Saturday for holding up the OPCW mission.

Rebels had captured it in 2012, and Syrian government fighters had not entered it since.

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For over a week now, Syrian government flags have flown over Douma, the biggest town in the agricultural Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus, since rebels there surrendered after five years of siege.

The agency, set up to ensure the destruction of chemical armaments, is due to assess the scene and take samples from alleged attack victims to determine the cause and potentially uncover the perpetrators.

But they have made none of that evidence public even after they, along with Britain, bombarded sites they said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program.

Hours after the alleged chemical attack, the rebel faction that controlled the town, the Army of Islam, relented and was evacuated along with thousands of residents.

Lavrov also repeated Russia's claim that there was no chemical attack in Douma, asserting that "what did take place was.staged".

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