Weapons inspectors plan to head to Syria's Douma hours after strikes

OPCW says will not disclose details of investigative mission to Syria for security reasons

It says Syria's chemical weapons programme has been set back years.

Investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are in the capital, Damascus - but have been waiting to begin their inspection.

"That possibility always has to be taken into account, and investigators will look for evidence that shows whether the incident site has been tampered with", said Ralf Trapp, a consultant and member of a previous OPCW mission to Syria.

In the fraught aftermath of the suspected attack in Douma and the West's response, Washington also prepared to increase pressure on Moscow, Syrian President Bashar Assad's main ally, with new economic sanctions.

Russian Federation has "strongly condemned" the Western missile strikes against Syria, slamming them as "a gross violation of the fundamental principles of worldwide law, [and] an unjustified infringement of the sovereignty of the country".

Earlier, various official Russian agencies repeatedly warned that preparations had been underway in different parts of Syria for provocations and simulations of chemical attacks that would be blamed on government forces.

The attack on 7 April prompted military strikes on Syrian government targets by the US, UK, and France a week later.

British foreign minister Boris Johnson told the BBC on Sunday that western powers had no plans for further strikes but "if and when such a thing were to happen, then clearly with allies we would study what the options were".

Trading summary of Watch List stock - Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)
The institutional investor purchased 5,259 shares of the biopharmaceutical company's stock, valued at approximately $377,000. It fall, as 95 investors sold GILD shares while 545 reduced holdings. 12 funds opened positions while 32 raised stakes.

Syrian flags flew in Douma on Monday, security forces stood on street corners and Russian military police patrolled the streets.

The president tells lawmakers that he acted to "promote the stability of the region, to deter the use and proliferation of chemical weapons, and to avert a worsening of the region's current humanitarian catastrophe". The OPCW team arrived the same day that the USA, the United Kingdom and France conducted airstrikes on targets they say are associated with a Syrian chemical weapons program.

They'll investigate the suspected chemical attack, cited as justification for those strikes.

It said Syria had not answered questions on matters including possible remaining stocks of yperite (mustard gas) and DF (a sarin precursor), undeclared chemical weapons of small caliber and signs VX and sarin on production and loading sites.

The 28 ministers endorsed the missile strikes and considered steps to deepen Assad's isolation.

One of the three sites hit was the Barzeh complex, which the United States says was a centre for development, production and testing of chemical and biological weapons, although Syria denies this.

The Western leaders also faced scrutiny at home over their actions.

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