US: Russia, Syria delay inspectors to sanitize Douma attack site

WASHINGTON (dpa)- The Trump administration said Thursday that is had "credible" evidence that Russia was working in tandem with the Syrian regime to "deny and to delay" international inspectors in order to sanitize the site of a suspected chemical attack.
"Russian officials have worked with the Syrian regime, we believe, to sanitize the locations of those suspected attacks and to remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. She called the actions "an effort to conduct their own staged investigations."

Inspectors from the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team arrived in Damascus on Saturday with the aim of investigating an alleged chemical weapon attack on April 7 that killed more than 40 civilians in Douma, a formerly rebel-held town near Damascus.
Nauert said Thursday that the US could confirm that the OPCW team had still not gained access to Douma.
"We have credible information that indicates that Russian officials are working with the Syrian regime to deny and to delay these inspectors from gaining access to Douma," she said.
Western powers have blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for the alleged chemical attack in the town. The US, Britain and France responded with strikes against three sites in Syria associated with the government's chemical weapons programme.

Friday, April 20th 2018

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