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Despite Trilateral Attacks OPCW Will Continue Douma Chemical Weapons Investigation

16 April 2018

Russian Federation and Syria have denied that chemical weapons were used at all and said their own investigators had been to the area and found no trace of them.

The Pentagon said the strikes hit three targets believed to have been involved in creating chemical weapons.

In Assad's view, the airstrikes that were launched in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian forces on the town of Douma will unify the country.

The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for an alleged chemical attack earlier this month, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others. Russia will not interfere with the work of the mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Syrian city of Douma, Russian Permanent Representation to the OPCW stated on Monday, commenting on the meeting of the organization's executive council.

The meeting took place at a hotel in the capital Damascus on Sunday.

The targeted sites were largely empty but US President Donald Trump hailed a "perfectly executed" operation. "We don't want to come to United States", he said.

The team will also have to deal with the risk that evidence may have been removed from the site, which lies in an area that has been controlled by Russian military police and Syrian forces over the past week.

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"We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially and free of any pressure", Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan told AFP. On Saturday, an OPCW expert group arrived in Syria to investigate the incident.

The words of the senior official revoiced the statement of the Russian embassy in the Netherlands that said earlier in the day that the U.S. was attempting to undermine the work of the OPCW that was set to start the probe into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma the same day, the USA, the United Kingdom and France launched a missile attack on Syria.

Trump's "Mission Accomplished" tweet earned him parallels with George W. Bush's fatefully premature victory speech days after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Pentagon said no further action was planned but Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the U.S. was "locked and loaded" should another gas attack occur.

Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, also an Assad ally, that any new Western strikes in Syria would provoke "chaos in worldwide relations", a Kremlin statement said.

Macron insisted in an interview Sunday that France had "not declared war" on Syria, striving to underscore Paris' justification for the attacks.

The April 7 strike on Douma, in which most experts say chlorine as well as an agent such as sarin were used, killed at least 40 people, according to local medics. The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation denied the allegations.

Despite Trilateral Attacks OPCW Will Continue Douma Chemical Weapons Investigation