Russian Federation not tampering with Syria attack site

Russian Federation not tampering with Syria attack site

Inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog met Syrian officials in Damascus on Monday but have so far been denied access to the former rebel stronghold where the alleged use of toxic substances provoked a US-led strike. Assad is a close ally of Moscow.

Haley also said the response by the Trump administration was "cumulative", taking into account not only the recent chemical weapons attack in Douma, but also other, smaller, attacks.

U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the allied airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal.

On Monday the OPCW's Ahmet Uzumcu said that its team had not yet been deployed to Douma - despite originally intending to arrive over the weekend.

The suspicions of tampering heightened concerns that the truth about the April 7 attack may never be known. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that following Syrian rebels' withdrawal from the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, stockpiles of chemical agents were found there.

But on Monday, Lavrov told BBC: "I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site".

In interviews broadcast by the pro-government Al-Ikhbaria television channel, 13 medical workers, including nine doctors, said the symptoms they treated suggested that the patients were suffering from asthma, not the effects of a poison gas.

She added that Russian Federation is feeling the effects of U.S. actions including "the sanctions that are continuing to happen, which you'll see again on Monday".

The aim, she said, is "to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things". According to a statement by the French presidency, Macron called for dialogue between France and Russian Federation to "continue and intensify" to bring peace and stability to Syria.

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Meanwhile, media reports noted that the United Kingdom government has confirmed a "20-fold" increase in disinformation being spread by Kremlin-linked social media "bot" accounts since the United Kingdom, USA and France attacked Syria's chemical weapons infrastructure on Saturday.

"We are considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation and a decision will be made in the near future", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday. This was at the very beginning after this information [of the attack] appeared.

"Russia confirms its commitment to ensure safe (sic) and security of the mission and will not interfere in its work", the Russian embassy in The Hague said in a tweet.

"The objective of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons", Trump said.

The organisation, which needs a two-thirds majority to take decisions, has been undermined by deep political division over the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

It is barred from having, storing or using nerve agents, and while it is permitted to possess chlorine for civilian uses, is banned from using that chemical as a weapon.

USA ambassador to the United Nations says U.S. could announce as early as Monday new sanctions on Moscow for support of Syria's Assad.

Members of the 41-seat executive council of the OPCW were due to discuss the alleged use of prohibited toxins in Syria, but were not expected to reach any agreement about a response.

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