OPCW 'enters Syria's Douma' to probe gas attack allegation

OPCW 'enters Syria's Douma' to probe gas attack allegation

Only hours later, Syrian TV carried a military statement saying that air defenses fired a number of missiles because of a "false alarm", without providing more information.

The Pentagon denied any American military activity in the area.

"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", he said.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry, in a statement, accused the Syrian government and Russian Federation of deliberately barring the OPCW from entering Douma in the past few days so that the evidence of the suspected gas attack disappeared without a trace.

The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, Jon Huntsman, said in a video, "Before we took action, the United States communicated with" Russia to "reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties".

Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials have gone even further, accusing Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack.

Independent investigators have been prevented by Syrian and Russian officials from reaching the scene of an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital, an official said.

"It was in our national interest and it is a decision that should be, I believe, supported by everybody who recognises that we need to re-establish the worldwide norms in relation to the use and the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons".

Did Syria strikes kill any chance of diplomacy?
US official says Russia could cover traces of chemical attack near Damascus

Russian Federation has denied trying to obstruct the investigation and said the inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who arrived in Damascus on Saturday, are due to visit Douma on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow (Tuesday) the security services of the United Nations. will test the routes", a senior Russian official said at a press conference in the Russian embassy in The Hague, explaining that the roads were still being cleared of mines.

Instead, officials have offered up 22 people as witnesses for OPCW to interview.

The allies struck Syrian military targets over the weekend in retaliation. He showed CBS News what he said was the origin of the deadly gas: a missile on the roof of the building. It also reported a separate air strike on the Dumayr air base near Damascus.

Earlier this month, four Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria's T4 air base in Homs. Israel did not confirm or deny it.

The White house, which is apparently looking for a pretext to justify the missile attack, claims that Moscow has failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria gets rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

The OPCW is investigating reports that government forces gassed sites in Douma on April 7, when the town was still held by rebels and home to tens of thousands of people - residents and others who were displaced by fighting elsewhere.

Crude prices soar on decline in U.S. inventories
Japan's Nikkei faded late in the day to end up 0.15 per cent, but basic materials and utilities both climbed more than 2 per cent. US gasoline demand surged to a record high of 9.9 MMbbl a day before the summer driving season when consumption typically peaks.

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