Syria forces enter Douma, last holdout in rebel bastion: State media

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.

The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation have denied allegations of a chemical attack.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission "will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma", the agency said in a statement.

Syria's internal security forces entered Douma on Saturday, state media reported, saying the final rebel holdout on the edge of Damascus would be secured within "hours".

Syrian newspapers meanwhile boasted that the country's air defense systems had shot down missiles.

The pontiff said after his traditional Sunday blessing that "despite the tools available to the global community, it is hard to agree on a common action toward peace in Syria or other regions of the world".

His plea comes after the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), which was created as a body to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2015, expired in November 2017.

Lightning strike down Devils for a 2-0 series lead
Girardi, bottom right, did not return for the third period. "Too little, too late, but I think we showed fight", Schneider said. Notes: Hirschier was New Jersey's second-leading scorer during the regular season with 52 points, 41 fewer than Hall.

Syria agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013 and submit to OPCW inspections.

The Syrian army has declared the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus "fully liberated" after the last group of gunmen left the town of Douma.

"Good morning steadfastness", one broadcaster said.

Due largely to divisions among its five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - the Council could not adopt three draft resolutions that would have responded to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma.

The ministry also pointed out that the strikes were carried out when the Syrian troops's offensive against IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS], Jabhat al-Nusra, and other terrorist groups was successful. "All facts point to the desire of the USA and its allies to provide the radicals and extremists with an opportunity to gather their breath, restore their ranks, drag out the bloodshed on Syrian soil and thereby complicate the political settlement", the ministry said.

Moscow pointed out that the Western allies ignored evidence provided by Syria and Russian Federation that the alleged chemical attack was actually staged in a "cynical" manner.

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