Syria: Inspectors blocked from suspected gas attack site

The destroyed Scientific Research Centre is seen in Damascus Syria

The U.S. military, along with France and Britain, fired 105 missiles against three chemical weapons facilities in Syria on Saturday.

The three targets - associated with the government's alleged research, development, and deployment of chemical weapons - were struck on Friday night in Syria, near Damascus and Homs, in response to a chemical weapons attack a week earlier that left scores of civilians dead.

Syrian police units wave and give the victory sign as they patrol in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018.

Further, Friday's attack ignores the suffering that can be imposed on innocents by conventional weapons that, for some reason, don't raise our moral hackles in the way that chemical weapons do.

Trump wanted a "more robust attack" on Bashar al-Assad's regime, people familiar with the process told the Wall Street Journal.

Russian Federation has condemned the allied strikes on Sunday but refrained from responding to the attack on its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded in a BBC interview on Monday. The supporting actors understood they had no choice but to watch the USA finesse its way out of a sticky situation.

"The United Nations has provided the necessary clearances for the OPCW team to go about its work in Douma", said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Government forces and Russian troops have deployed in Douma, which has now fallen under the control of the Syrian government. "The use of force under the pretext of punishing and retaliating [against] the use of chemical weapons also violates worldwide law as present global law also bans the use of force in retaliation for illegitimate actions".

"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said several coordination meetings were held with the OPCW team, but he did not provide any further details about their schedule.

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The weekend missile strikes by the US, Britain and France were in response to an alleged chlorine and sarin gas attack in Douma on April 7 in which 40 people were said to have been killed. The OPCW fact-finding team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.

Russian Federation claimed the delay was necessary because USA and allied airstrikes against Syria over the weekend made it impossible to guarantee the safety of the inspectors. The joint body was created in 2015 and found the Syrian government responsible for using sarin gas past year in Khan Shaykhoun, a rebel-held area in northern Syria.

The American envoy to the OPCW, Ambassador Kenneth Ward, said Russian Federation might be helping the Syrians obscure evidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical attack.

In Damascus, hundreds of Syrians gathered in a landmark square Damascus, rallying in support of their armed forces, which they say succeeded in confronting the unprecedented air strikes by the West.

State television broadcast the rally live as participants waved Syrian flags and set off fireworks and celebratory gunfire, according to the AP.

Shouts of "Allah, Syria, and only Bashar", a reference to Assad, rang out.

While the generals surrounding Trump had insisted that the United States will have to remain in Syria indefinitely, the president himself declared in March that US troops will be out "very soon".

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said it maintained its position that the Syrian crisis should be handled by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

But it later admitted that it was a false alarm, not outside aggression, that triggered Syrian air defenses. The Pentagon says no missiles were engaged.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May defended the country's recent missile strikes in Syria to the House of Commons on Monday, despite criticism from all parties that she had not sought parliamentary approval before the strikes.

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