Syria Chemical Attack: Russia Isn't Obstructing OPCW Investigation – UK Official
A US-led coalition was assembled and carried out strikes against Syria earlier this month in response to an alleged chemical attack on the city of Douma. Damascus and Moscow have denied any involvement in the incident, and are working with investigators from the OPCW to determine if chemical weapons were indeed used.
UK Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said on Thursday that Russia is not preventing investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from reaching the alleged attack site in Douma to take samples and carry out research.
“I don’t accept what she [Tory MP Elizabeth Truss] says about the Russians stopping it. My understanding is that it’s a United Nations problem with their red tape and their safety and with getting their safety stuff through. That is what I am told,” the shadow foreign secretary said on Question Time on April 19, refuting claims that Russia had prevented the team of investigators from accessing the site.
he also described the military operation launched against Syria by the US, the UK and France as illegal, echoing the concerns of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and numerous other UK MPs.
Investigators from the OPCW watchdog are currently in Damascus, but it remains unclear when they will be able to access the site of the alleged chemical attack.
None of the attacking nations have so far presented any evidence implicating the Syrian Army or other government forces in the suspected chemical attack on Douma. Instead, they have based their entire case and justification for attacking Syria on unverified reports from the Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) terrorist group and the infamous White Helmets, which have been found to be working with members of the al-Qaeda network.
There has been no indication from officials in the US administration that they will be launching new strikes against Syria in the near future, but Department of Defense spokeswomen Dana White said they are “vigilant,” while US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said they remain “locked and loaded.”