Chemical probe to begin in Syria after Western strikes

Chemical probe to begin in Syria after Western strikes

Chemical probe to begin in Syria after Western strikes

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad met overnight with representatives of the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog at a Damascus hotel.

"The experts have been in Syria for the past three days upon the request of the Syrian government and several meetings were held during which the cooperation between the two sides was discussed", SANA quoted al-Mokdad as saying.

Ryabkov further noted that these were the consequences of the U.S. airstrikes in Syria that hampered the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to probe the alleged attack in Douma.

They have risked a confrontation with Moscow, the Syrian regime's top ally, with President Vladimir Putin warning that fresh attacks would spark "chaos", while Washington vowed economic sanctions against Russian Federation rather than further military action.

In May past year, the BBC reported that the Barzah site was being used by the Syrian regime to install chemical weapons on long-range missiles, violating the 2013 agreement to eliminate chemical weapons from the country.

There's been widespread condemnation of the incident including from US President Donald Trump.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview published Sunday in the 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".




Trump launched a military strike against the Syrian regime almost one year ago targeting a government airbase also in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians.

The OPCW 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.

"We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially and free of any pressure", Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan told AFP.

Regime forces have since entered Douma and declared the entire Eastern Ghouta region around it fully retaken, ending a five-year siege and reclaiming an opposition bastion on the edge of the capital.

On Saturday, Trump called the strike "perfectly executed", on Twitter, writing, "mission accomplished!"

The Pentagon said no further action was planned but Washington's envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, warned that the US was "locked and loaded" should another gas attack occur. The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation denied the allegations.

Yet the Pentagon has said it planned no further strikes and the West already appeared to be shifting its focus to renewed diplomatic action, with a new resolution to be debated at the UN Security Council on Monday.

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