Chemical Weapons Experts Blocked From Site of Syria Attack, Officials Say

Senior Russian diplomats mentioned that it was the United Nations, not Syria or Russia, that had prevented inspectors from coming into Douma. “The problem was the absence of the U.N. Secretariat security department’s approval for O.P.C.W. experts to visit Douma,” Sergei A. Ryabkov, deputy international minister of Russia, informed reporters, in response to the information company Interfax.

A spokesman for the United Nations, Stéphane Dujarric, disputed the Russian rationalization. “The U.N. has given them all the necessary clearances,” he mentioned. “We’re supporting the team as much as we can.”

The O.P.C.W. declined to remark, and didn’t even say whether or not its inspectors had reached Douma, saying in a press release, “We are unable to share operational details.”

The United States ambassador to the O.P.C.W. mentioned on the assembly on Monday that Russia might be making an attempt to hide proof of chemical weapons.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site,” the ambassador, Kenneth D. Ward, mentioned. “We are concerned they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the O.P.C.W. fact-finding mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

In an interview with the BBC, Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian international minister, mentioned, “I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site.”

The United States and its allies Britain and France used missiles on Saturday to strike targets in Syria that they mentioned have been concerned in producing chemical weapons, which President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities denies having used.

Even earlier than the O.P.C.W. inspectors arrived in Syria, the Western allies mentioned that they had ample proof that the nation had dropped a chemical agent on Douma, and that it had used chemical weapons many instances throughout the seven-year civil struggle.

East-West tensions have been excessive since Britain accused Russia of using a powerful nerve agent to poison a Russian former spy dwelling in England and his daughter. The Kremlin has denied the accusation, which set off the expulsion of tons of of diplomats and a collection of financial measures towards Russia.

“It is the style of today’s London to blame Moscow for everything and ascribe certain actions to which we bear no relation whatsoever,” Mr. Ryabkov mentioned.

Russian and Syrian officers have prompt that the chemical assault in Douma by no means occurred, or that it was staged by insurgent forces or Western powers as an excuse for attacking Syria. Mr. Lavrov accused Britain of enjoying a component within the alleged ruse.

The Syrian navy, with assist from its Russian and Iranian allies, this month retook management of japanese Ghouta, a suburban space that was the final main rebel-held enclave close to Damascus. Douma was the final a part of the area to fall.

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