Chemical weapons investigators enter Syria's Douma district: report

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-17 22:59:22|Editor: Yamei
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Syrians are seen in the Douma district of Damascus, Syria, on April 15, 2018. On Saturday, the Syrian army declared capturing Douma, the last rebel bastion in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus, after the evacuation of rebels and their families. The Russian military police also entered Douma after the evacuation of the rebels, who left toward the rebel-held city of Jarablus in northern Syria under a deal with the Syrian government and the Russians. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

DAMASCUS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Investigators of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) entered the Douma district in east of Syrian capital Damascus on Tuesday to start investigating the allegations of chemical weapons use, state TV reported.

No more details were disclosed about the entry of the team to the previously rebel-held district, where an alleged gas attack by Syrian troops reportedly killed dozens of people and triggered off the U.S.-led joint airstrikes on Syria on Saturday morning.

Syria has strongly rejected the allegations as fabrication by the rebels and Western countries to justify a military attack on the country.

The OPCW investigators, who arrived in Damascus on Saturday, have held several meetings with Syrian officials.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia had urged the OPCW to send a team to Douma to investigate the alleged use of chlorine gas.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said his government is keen to cooperate with the investigators, state news agency SANA reported.

Mekdad said that the investigators had held meetings with the Syrian government and discussed about carrying out its work with transparency, impartiality, and accuracy.

The U.S.-led military strike on Syria has been widely criticized for prejudgment before the investigators reach a conclusion on if there was a gas attack or who should be responsible for it.

It is not the first time that the Syrian government has been accused of using chemical weapons. In April, 2017, the U.S. launched a similar missile attack on a Syrian air base in the central province of Homs over the same allegation.