wnol.info June 23 2018

Investigators to visit Syria chemical attack site

June 23 2018, 04:49 | Irvin Gilbert

Syrian Canadians express mixed reaction to US-led airstrikes

Britain France and the US conducted targeted strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities over the weekend

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been waiting since Saturday to visit Douma, the site of the alleged April 7 attack.

The United States has raised concerns that Russian Federation might have tampered with evidence on the scene - a charge Russian Federation vehemently denies - and it remains to be seen what investigators will find and what they'll have access to.

"We can not allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised, either within Syria, on the streets of the United Kingdom, or elsewhere", May said - linking the chemical attack in Syria with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter last month with a military-grade nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury.

Some reported having spoken to locals who said that the chemical attack had been staged, claiming there had been a conventional attack which produced a huge amount of dust.

The OPCW said Tuesday that Russian Federation and Syria had blocked the inspectors' access to Douma, a former opposition stronghold, citing security issues.

Survivors reached by the Associated Press said they were overwhelmed by the smell of chlorine on the night of April 7.

But "strangers entered as we were in a state of chaos and spread a rumour among people there had been a chemical attack, and people became alarmed".

Residue of chlorine, which is the chemical suspected of being used in Douma, will eventually disappear if left exposed to the atmosphere for a long period, but physical damage to the airways of victims exposed to the gas will still be clear even now, Zanders said in a telephone interview.

McKenzie said if Syrian forces were considering possible future attacks, "they've got to look over their shoulder and be anxious that we're looking at them, and we'll have the ability to strike them again".

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They would join tens of thousands who have been transferred in recent weeks from rebel-held areas around Damascus to areas in northern Syria controlled by rebel groups.

Yet France and the United States appeared to question the goal of such a mission, warning that any incriminating evidence had likely been removed by now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Sunday western powers that further attacks in Syria will bring "chaos" in worldwide relations.

Back in 2014, Syria surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.

The Pentagon denied any American military activity in the area.

Syrian media reported another missile attack early Thursday in Homs province, but later said it was a false alarm and not an outside attack that triggered air defense systems. "We're going to continue to keep a number of options on the table if Syria and Russian Federation and Iran don't show to be better actors in this process". Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said the mission was not allowed in because it lacked approval from the United Nation's Department for Safety and Security.

Given that 11 days have passed since the attack, some chemicals might be harder to trace. These might include suffocating, foaming at the mouth, constricted pupils, convulsions and involuntary urination or defecation. She described the past two months during the army's offensive to capture Douma as terrifying, with time passing slowly in shelters with little food and lice spreading among residents. As they spoke, government troops were not far away but out of earshot. Nuseir said a cylinder was found leaking the poison gas, adding that he didn't think it was dropped from the air because it still looked intact.

"We provided information on the burial place of those killed in the chemical attack", its chief, Raed Saleh, told AFP. "We couldn't breathe, it smelled like chlorine".

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