Moscow vows 'not to interfere' in OPCW's work in Syria: embassy

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Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are in the country to investigate the circumstances surrounding reports of a gas attack in the Syrian city of Douma, where at least 70 people are reported to have died from chemical exposure.

Relief organizations say dozens of men, women and children were killed. British Ambassador Peter Wilson said citing OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu that Russian Federation and Syria had failed to provide access to Douma for the OPCW experts being unable to give security guarantees.

"It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site", USA ambassador Ken Ward said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that Moscow had interfered with any evidence.

The United States, Britain, and France launched air strikes against Syrian government facilities on April 14 in response.

According to Petter Lycke, Sweden's representative at the OPCW executive council, Syria and Russian Federation told the inspectors that their safety could not be guaranteed. This was at the very beginning after this information [about the attack] appeared.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mokdad said several coordination meetings were held with the OPCW team but he did not provide any further details as their schedule.

Douma was the last rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, and is the site of the alleged gas attack that prompted a volley of Western air strikes on Saturday.

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It also slammed the United States, saying the weekend strikes on three facilities in Syria were a bid "to undermine the credibility" of the mission.

"The bottom line for me is that this latest strike changed nothing", said Nabeel Khoury, a former U.S. diplomat and now a fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.

The OPCW's fact-finding mission (FFM) was set up in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic".

"The targeted U.S., French, and United Kingdom air strikes on chemical-weapons facilities in Syria were specific measures having been taken with the sole objective to prevent the further use of chemical weapons and chemical substances as weapons by the Syrian regime to kill its own people", it said.

The ministers gave no indication that the European Union would join the United States, which is expected to announce new targeted sanctions against Russian Federation over its support for Assad.

The targeted sites were largely empty but US President Donald Trump hailed a "perfectly executed" operation.

"I think everyone is going to feel it at this point", she added.