May defends British strikes in Syria against parliament critics

May defends British strikes in Syria against parliament critics

On April 16, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were unable to reach the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma because of a lack of coordination with the U.N. Secretariat's security department.

More than 390 allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria have been recorded by OPCW since 2014, the British envoy to the group said yesterday.

The Syrian state news agency SANA earlier reported that the worldwide experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had entered Douma to begin their investigation of whether chemical agents were used as a weapon.

The OPCW team had been expected to begin their fieldwork on Sunday, but they met with officials at their Damascus hotel instead. "I am confident that they will have full access, without any restrictions or impediments to perform their activities", Guterres added.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said Monday that the organization's team "has not yet deployed to Douma", two days after arriving in Syria.

They said: "This response was limited, proportionate and necessary - and taken only after exhausting every possible diplomatic option to uphold the global norm against the use of chemical weapons". But it said no missiles landed inside the bases.

"And a wider operation to hide the facts of the attack is underway, supported by the Russians", she said.

May said the presence of helicopters and the use of barrel bombs pointed the finger of blame squarely at the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But the American ambassador to the OPCW claimed the Russians may have already visited the site.

"We call on Western countries that staged the illegitimate strike on Syria to stop manipulating public opinion and meddling with the work of worldwide organizations", she stressed.

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EU Foreign Ministers on Monday backed "all efforts" to stop Syria using chemical weapons, after weekend strikes by Britain, France and the United States, but called for renewed efforts to find a political solution to the seven-year war. The Russian military taskforce in Syria said it visited the hospital in Douma and talked to staff who said they did not confirm reports of such an assault.

The country's foreign minister, Linas Linkevičius, said, "Only decisive action will make it possible to adjust the regime's policy and send a very clear message to those countries supporting Assad, Russia and Iran".

Theresa May has accused Russian Federation and Syria of trying to cover up a chemical attack which killed dozens last weekend.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying The U.S. and "some Western countries do not want Syria to reach permanent stability".

Russian defense commander Igor Kirillov said investigators can access the site Wednesday.

Moscow immediately denied the charge and blamed delays on the retaliatory US-led missile strikes at the weekend. "It is the only way to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the future".

USA envoy to the OPCW, Kenneth Ward, said: "It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site".

President Obama drew his "red line" against chemical weapons, and when Assad stepped across it relied upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to promise to rid Syria of poison gas.

The head of the International Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Monday that Russian and Syrian authorities had prevented his team from reaching the scene of the attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, due to what the two countries said were "security issues" caused by USA and allied missile strikes over the weekend.

Philippe told lawmakers that France's "riposte" was "proportionate" and sent a strong, clear message to dissuade Syria's government from using chemical weapons.

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