Russian Federation rejects United Nations resolution for independent Douma investigation

Russian Federation rejects United Nations resolution for independent Douma investigation

Meanwhile, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told CBS' "Face the Nation" program that the United States would announce new economic sanctions on Monday aimed at companies "that were dealing with equipment" related to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged chemical weapons use.

Russian Federation has sought to absolve Assad of any guilt by blaming a rebel group, called the White Helmets, for carrying out the alleged chemical attack.

The officials were greeted by a "large crowd" of protesters at one site, forcing them to withdraw while at the second site "they were subject to small-arms fire and an explosion", Wilson said, citing information from the OPCW director general. The inspectors arrived in Damascus at the weekend.

Damascus and its ally Moscow deny that any gas attack took place, that they are holding up the inspections or that they have tampered with evidence at the site.

Until Saturday, the city was the last rebel-held town near the capital and the target of a government offensive in February and March that killed hundreds and displaced tens of thousands.

"Detection would be more hard in case of agents such as chlorine - a gas that would dissipate rapidly with the air, and also there is a natural background for chlorine in the environment", said Trapp, "but even in such cases there may still be chemical reaction products of the agent and materials of the local environment that can be found in concentrations that are higher than would normally be expected, and that could give indirect hints at whether a chemical agent had been used".

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari on Tuesday told a meeting of the UN Security Council that the team of experts would begin work on Wednesday once they receive the all-clear from their security detail.

Opposition sources say Dumair airport is a major airbase used in a large-scale military campaign waged by the Syrian army with Russian firepower that regained eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus.

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"The Syrian regime has reportedly been attempting to hide the evidence by searching evacuees from Douma to ensure samples are not being smuggled from this area, and a wider operation to hide the facts of the attack is under way, supported by the Russians", she said.

The OPCW team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame. The Russian side included Russia's special presidential envoy on a Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

Alexander Shulgin, the Russian envoy at the OPCW in The Hague, said allegations that Russia might destroy evidence reflected Washington's effort to justify Saturday's strikes. The latest weapons being used against civilians in Syria are chemical weapons.

According to some people said to be eyewitnesses, unknown people then entered the bombed building where victims were being treated and shouted "gas, gas". The mechanism would look at cases where the OPCW fact-finding mission has established chemical weapons were used or likely used.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday warned that if the strikes continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in global relations".

The pro-government commander said the army had prepared for military action in the Eastern Qalamoun, but that Russian Federation was working on securing the rebels' withdrawal without a battle.

France will spend 50 million euros ($62 million) on new projects in Syria to be carried out by around 20 humanitarian groups, the president's office said Monday.

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