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Lavrov denies U.S. envoy's accusation Russia may have tampered with Syria chemical attack site

Lavrov denies U.S. envoy's accusation Russia may have tampered with Syria chemical attack site
From CBC - April 16, 2018

Russia may have tampered with the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma, Syria, the U.S. envoy to the global watchdog saidMonday, urging the body to condemn the continuing use of banned chemical weapons.

The comments came during a closed-door meeting at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, convened after an April 7 attack Douma, outside the Syrian capital of Damascus, in which dozens of people were allegedly killed with poison gas.

It is long overdue that this council condemns the Syrian government for its reign of chemical terror- Kenneth Ward, U.S. ambassador

"It is long overdue that this council condemns the Syrian government for its reign of chemical terror and demands international accountability for those responsible for these heinous acts," U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ward said in comments obtained by Reuters.

"It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site. It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission to conduct an effective investigation."

The United States, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at three alleged chemical weapons facilities early Saturday, angering Syria's military backer,Moscow, which threatened to retaliate.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the strikes had accomplished their aim of undermining efforts by the Syrian government to produce and use chemical weapons again in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

OPCW inspectors were visiting sites in Douma on Monday aiming to collect samples, interview witnesses and document evidence to determine whether banned toxic munitions were used.

Evidence may have been removed

It has been more than a week since the attack in which witnesses and Western governments described helicopters dropping sarin and chlorine bombs that killed many children and women hiding from clashes between rebels and government troops.

A diplomatic source told Reuters that evidence may have been removed while inspectors negotiated access with Syrian authorities.

Syria and Russia deny chemical weapons were used in the final offensive that captured Douma, a rebel-held territory east of Damascus.

Inspectors ca not get access

Putin warns against further Western attacks

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