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Chemical weapons inspectors reach Syrian town

18 April 2018

"We are evaluating but nothing to announce right now", Sanders said.

But others said it would be wiser and more effective to wait for a period longer than three days after the U.S., British and French infuriated Russian Federation with their missile strikes on Syria on Friday.

The United States, Britain and France launched their first coordinated strikes against Assad's government on Saturday in retaliation for what they say was a poison gas attack on April 7 that killed scores of residents in Douma, the last town in the eastern Ghouta to fall.

Later on Tuesday, Syrian media announced the experts had already arrived. A diplomatic source in The Hague, where the OPCW is based, said the experts did not enter Douma.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the military strikes violated the UN Charter and that if they continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in worldwide relations", according to a Kremlin statement on Sunday.

The OPCW visit to Douma came hours after Syrian media reported airstrikes Tuesday on government military installations in the central Homs region and the suburbs of Damascus, but the military later said a false alarm had set off air defense systems.

"If this United Nations security team decides that the situation is sound in Douma then the fact-finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow", Jaafari told the Security Council.

Global investigators on Tuesday entered a Syrian town hit by an alleged chemical attack, after days of delay and warnings by Western powers that crucial evidence had likely been removed.

The worldwide team has been in the country since Saturday, but has not been allowed to visit Douma.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the mission had appeared in question. "I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it", Haley said.

Washington-Moscow ties kept deteriorating over the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 7, as US President Donald Trump accused Russian Federation, along with Iran, for their support of the Assad administration in Syria, whom Washington said should be responsible for the deadly incident.

The commander said the new offensive would target Islamic State and Nusra Front militants in Yarmouk camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad district.

Russian Federation denied the claims, saying parts of Douma still needed to be de-mined and said the watchdog's inspectors would enter on Wednesday.

Igor Kirillov, head of Russia's radiological, biological and chemical protection unit, told the media the access roads to Douma still had to be demined and cleared, and would be checked by United Nations security services on April 17.

- New sanctions on Russian Federation over the chemical weapons attack in Syria are still under consideration despite the appearance they have been shelved, White House officials said Tuesday. Israel did not confirmed or deny mounting the raid.

Damascus and Moscow have both denied using poison gas and have broadcast statements from hospital workers in Douma - which medical aid groups operating in rebel areas have dismissed as propaganda - saying that no chemical attack took place.

The weekend's airstrikes have increased worldwide tension, as the USA and Russian Federation exchanged threats of retaliation.

The United States and its allies have said the aim of the strikes was to prevent the further use of chemical weapons, not to turn the tide of the war in Syria or topple Assad.

Chemical weapons inspectors reach Syrian town