International Vehicle Seen Near Syria Suspected Gas Attack Site

There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria

As inspectors continue to demand access to Douma, the likelihood that they will be able to detect chemical traces is diminishing by the day, according to experts.

The U.S. had no intention of changing the strategic balance of the conflict in Syria with the recent joint attack against the Bashar al-Assad regime, a high-ranking military official said Thursday.

A United Nations security team touring Douma on Tuesday came under small arms and explosives fire, leading the OPCW to postpone its visit.

Medical charities operating in opposition-held parts of Syria have dismissed those statements as propaganda, given under duress now that government forces control the town.

Following the attack, the U.S., United Kingdom and France jointly launched strikes Friday night targeting the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities in retaliation.

At the second location, "there was an explosion followed by small-arms fire directed at (the) UNDSS team and the Russian military police", said the report, adding that the team had returned safely to Damascus.

The OPCW fact-finding team was delayed for several days in its attempts to reach the town.

It added that, "The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma".

The Syrian "White Helmets" rescue organization, which operates in rebel-held areas, has pinpointed for the OPCW team the places where victims of the suspected attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.

Grisly footage purportedly of the aftermath shocked the world, with harrowing testimony from medics of victims gasping for air and frothing at the mouth.

White House national security adviser John Bolton told Russia's ambassador on April 19 that better relations between the two countries required addressing US concerns on election meddling, a chemical attack in Britain, and the situations in Ukraine and Syria, the White House said.

But more importantly for Russia, Syria occupies a position of paramount importance for apparently three reasons. Syria joined the convention in 2013, with close ally Russian Federation vouching for the former's removal of all its chemical weapons. The suspected chemical attack triggered the United States response. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), in his April 17 news conference in Paris said, "If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present".

Western ambassadors to the organisation accused the Syrian regime of obstructing the mission.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the obstruction is likely aimed at ensuring that proof of the attack disappears.

It raises concerns that Russian Federation may have tampered with evidence at the site where dozens of civilians were killed. He says coalition officials are working with the SDF in "ongoing intelligence activities".

It was the first meeting between Bolton, who started at the White House this month, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov, the administration said in a statement.

Another member of the organisation said he was anxious proof that toxic substances had been used was being tampered with, particularly the burial site.

Notably, the president had carried out a clean attack on the chemical sites in Damascus without provoking the Russians.

He said the victims were buried in the city's east.

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