Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Syria: Inspectors blocked from suspected gas attack site

Syria: Inspectors blocked from suspected gas attack site

Meanwhile in Britain, opposition lawmakers were set to confront premier Theresa May in parliament on Monday over the lack of a parliamentary vote before joining the United States and France in launching airstrikes. A spirited debate is expected.

On Friday, the United States, Britain and France launched a series of air strikes on Syria aimed at wiping out Assad's chemical weapons capability.

They said: "This response was limited, proportionate and necessary - and taken only after exhausting every possible diplomatic option to uphold the worldwide norm against the use of chemical weapons".

Syrians walk through destruction in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018.

"They are hard for us, but will do more damage to the United States of America and Europe", RIA quoted Serebrennikov as saying. They said the only forces with military aircraft such as helicopters in Syria belong to Assad's government.

Russia - Syria's ally - has said worldwide chemical weapons experts are due to arrive in the area on Wednesday to check the claims.

"We hoped that the strikes would be continuous until they bring down Assad's regime, and not just strikes to stop him using chemical weapons", said Daheik. The Opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs.

The accounts contradict what the Syrian government and Russian Federation have reported: that there was no gas attack in Douma. It's very regrettable, to say the least, that the airstrikes were undertaken before the inspectors had actually even got into their situation.

The air strikes, carried out in the absence of congressional authorization or a UN Security Council mandate, come nearly a week after a chemical-weapons attack in the city of Douma, which killed 70. Reliable intelligence indicates that Syrian military officials coordinated what appears to be the use of chlorine in Douma on 7 April.

"So proud of our great Military which will soon be, after the spending of billions of fully approved dollars, the finest that our Country has ever had", the president tweeted Saturday morning.

The assessment cites "the absence to date of chemical samples analyzed by our own laboratories".

He and two other residents accused the rebel Army of Islam of carrying out the attack.

What have France, the USA and the United Kingdom said?

In a UN Security Council session Saturday, American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley warned that the U.S. was "locked and loaded" to take aim at Syria again if Assad uses chemical weapons again.

MPs are considering Parliament's role in approving military action in Syria after Theresa May authorised air strikes without consulting them. "And the delivery mechanism that is the Syrian Air Force - we have not seen much in terms of bases being hit as opposed to chemical facilities".

Meanwhile, France urged Russian Federation to join political talks on solutions in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called the air strikes on his country an act of "American aggression" Sunday while speaking to a group of Russian lawmakers.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that experts had instead been delayed from arriving in Douma due to the US-led airstrikes over the weekend, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Putin added that the strike had a "destructive influence on the entire system of global relations".

The commander, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the issue had been dealt with by Russian experts. He criticized the US and its allies for launching the strike without waiting for inspectors from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog to visit the area.

The Syrian government has strongly denied the allegation, calling on OPCW to send a fact-finding mission for investigations.

The targeted sites were largely empty, and were all said to be facilities for chemical weapons storage or production.

Syrian state TV acknowledged early Tuesday that the reported attack on a Syrian air base outside Homs was a false alarm, not outside aggression.

The Pentagon said that the USA was not involved in any strikes Tuesday morning.

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