Syria invites inspectors to probe alleged chemical attack

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 11, 2018
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The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it has sent UN an invitation for a fact-finding mission to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Damascus' eastern district of Douma, state news agency SANA reported.

The Syrian government confirmed in a statement its willingness to provide help to the mission in the investigation, with the appeal being sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The statement also expressed hope for the mission to do its work with "full transparency and to rely on tangible and credible evidence."

The ministry said Syria is keen to cooperate with the OPCW "to reveal the truth behind the allegations, which are prompted by some Western powers to justify their aggressive intentions to serve their political goals," the ministry said.

It added that the invitation is the Syrian government's response to the "campaign of fabrications" made by Western countries about the allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army in Douma last Saturday.

The statement comes against the backdrop of the warmongering rhetoric of the United States and its European allies, who are threatening military action on Syria on the pretext of chemical weapons use by the Syrian army.

On Saturday, activists said the Syrian side used chlorine gas while bombing Douma, the last rebel-held area in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus.

The Syrian government rejected the claims, denying being in possession of such weapons.

The United States has been warning retaliation against what it called chemical attacks by the Syrian army on the rebels, including in Eastern Ghouta, where the Syrian army was steadily advancing.

The UN Security Council held emergency meetings Monday on Syria, which sees tensions between the representatives of the United States and Russia.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said the chemical incident in Douma was staged, warning that a possible retaliatory U.S. military action could have "grave repercussions."

The Russian envoy said the photos of the chemical attack in Douma were fabricated, urging for sending an investigation team to Douma to examine the claims.

For her part, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley directly accused Russia, saying Russia's hands are smeared with the "blood of Syrian children."

During the session on Monday, Haley said that "either way, the United States will respond" to the alleged chemical attack whether the UN Security Council acted or not.

Also, U.S. President Donald Trump also struck a warmongering tone when he said on Monday that "major decisions" on Syria will be made within the next 48 hours, with U.S. officials not shunning aside the military action. 

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