Inspectors barred from Syrian chemical attack site as Russian Federation accused of tampering

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Inspectors from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog met Syrian officials in Damascus on Monday but have so far been denied access to the former rebel stronghold where the alleged use of toxic substances provoked a US -led strike.

But a United Nations spokesman said the clearances have been given to the OPCW team. The US expressed concerns that Russian Federation may have tampered with evidence at the site.

Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying a number of air defense missiles had been fired but no foreign attack had taken place.

The Kremlin quickly denied reports that Russian Federation was not allowing the OPCW mission in, without elaborating. "And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used".

"A significant body of information, including intelligence, indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack".

The US, UK and France launched airstrikes against Bashar al Assad's government on Saturday - targeting a chemical weapons facility - in retaliation for what they say was a poison gas attack which killed 70 people.

President Trump's former golf caddy - a man with zero political experience - has, against all odds, risen to a top position in the West Wing.

At a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, he again said the strikes were not aimed at regime change in Syria, but rather sent the message that the world has "had enough of the use of chemical weapons". "Outsourcing that decision to people who do not have the full picture is, I think, quite wrong", International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told BBC radio.

Moscow vowed on Monday not to interfere in the work of a fact-finding mission sent to Syria by the global chemical arms watchdog to probe an alleged poison gas attack in Douma.

It has called the chemical attack a hoax perpetrated by anti-Assad rebels and claimed to have shot 71 out of 105 missiles aimed at Syria in Friday's strike out of the sky (a claim the Pentagon disputes).

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview in Sunday's Journal Du Dimanche newspaper that "we should join our efforts to promote a political process in Syria that would allow a way out of the crisis".

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, emphasized that if such actions continue in violation of the UN Charter, this will inevitably lead to chaos in worldwide relations", the Kremlin said in a statement about the call.

Putin and Rouhani aren't the only ones doubting the legitimacy of the allied strike.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, has questioned the legal basis for Britain's involvement. Nevertheless, the Syrian rebels are also known to possess chemical weapons.

The risk of a limited attack is that the regime knows it can absorb the punishment.

"Three countries have intervened, and let me be quite frank, quite honest - this is for the honour of the worldwide community", he said in the French city of Strasbourg.

All 12, it said, had been downed using Soviet-made air defense systems.

In Paris, a parliamentary debate will take place in France's National Assembly on Monday afternoon after Macron's decision to order the intervention of French armed forces overseas, according to a tweet by the head of France's National Assembly, Francois de Rugy.

Russian Federation vetoed a year ago the extension of the mandate of another joint U.N. -OPCW joint body in charge of determining who was behind other chemical attacks in Syria.