United Nations security team 'shot at' in Syria ahead of chemical weapons inspection
19 April, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
But reports of chemical attacks have regularly surfaced since then, and recent reports from Islamist rebels fighting Assad in Douma, the town where the most recent suspected chemical attack sparked the USA and allies' strike, said Assad is using the terrifying weapons to win on the battlefield. Shayrat air base was targeted by US Tomahawk missiles in April previous year in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib.
The Syrian "White Helmets" rescue organization, which operates largely in rebel-held areas, said on Wednesday that it had pinpointed for worldwide inspectors the places where the victims of the chemical attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.
Douma was the last town to hold out in the besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave, the last big rebel bastion near the capital Damascus.
The Syrian Central Media said six missiles targeted the Shayrat air base in Homs on Tuesday, adding that Syrian air defenses shot down a lot of them.
Meanwhile, Syrian Ambassador to the world body, Bashar al-Jaafari told a meeting of the UN Security Council that the "Syrian government did all that it can do to facilitate the work of this mission".
If chlorine was used in the attack as alleged by the western alliance then much or maybe even all of it will have evaporated in the ten days since the incident.
Nebenzia told the council that not even a day after the airstrikes, the U.S., France and Britain circulated a draft United Nations resolution calling for an urgent resumption of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition as well as an independent body to assess blame for chemical attacks and humanitarian access throughout Syria.
After Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack in 2013 that killed more than 1,300 people, Obama "considered launching an air campaign in an attempt to depose Assad", Business Insider reported in 2016.
It said its investigations shortly after the attack had found no evidence of of a chemical weapons release.
The Russian military said a Syrian security employee was slightly wounded in the crossfire Tuesday, but no Russian servicemen were at the site of the attack.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told a closed-door meeting of his organization that it remains unclear when the team will be able to deploy to Douma, U.K. Ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters in The Hague.
Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria's T4 air base, also in Homs.
Government forces and Russian troops have been deployed in Douma, which is now controlled by the Syrian government. The OPCW team does not have a mandate to assign blame for the attack.
But Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov denied any interference and again insisted there was no attack.
There was no comment from the OPCW or the United Nations on Wednesday. Looking at it this way, it seems Trump didn't want to go back on his own initial statement that threatened retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, because this would ruin his image on an global level and he would be viewed in the same way as Obama, who he has publicly criticized.
The pro-government commander said the army had prepared for military action in the Eastern Qalamoun, but that Russian Federation was working on securing the rebels' withdrawal without a battle.
Syrian state TV reported overnight that anti-aircraft defences had shot down missiles fired at an air base in the Homs area, and a media unit run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah said missiles had also targeted an air base near Damascus.
U.S. President Donald Trump is still willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in spite of increasing tensions between the United States and Russia, White House Spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Tuesday.
The alleged attack was met with "triple assaults" by the US, France and the United Kingdom, through coordinated strikes on three presumed chemical facilities run the government.
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