Syrian state TV: OPCW enters Douma to investigate alleged chemical attack

World Today

SYRIA-CONFLICT-GHOUTA Syrian police sit in the back of a vehicle in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on April 16, 2018 during an organised media tour after the Syrian army declared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta, following a blistering two month offensive on the rebel enclave. (AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA)

Syrian state media said inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons entered the town of Douma on Tuesday. The unexpected announcement came after Russian officials earlier said the team would be allowed in on Wednesday.

CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.

The OPCW experts are expected to begin collecting soil samples and interviewing local eyewitnesses.

On Monday, CGTN joined a Syrian government-organized tour of the site of the alleged chemical attack on April 7. Eyewitnesses and doctors told conflicting accounts on the tour. One doctor at Douma’s hospital said many of those he treated suffocated from debris, and not chemical agents. Some accused the rebels of denying them medical care, while rebels accuse the government of launching the attack.

SYRIA-CONFLICT-GHOUTA

Russian forces walk past damaged buildings in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on April 16, 2018 during an organised media tour after the Syrian army declared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta, following a blistering two month offensive on the rebel enclave. (AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA)

Meanwhile, Syrian army units are reportedly getting ready to storm the Yarmouk district south of the capital. The former Palestinian refugee camp is the last stronghold for ISIL and al-Nusra Front militants near Damascus. Syrian military sources don’t expect the battle to be easy, but one field commander said that “recent gains and expertise gained in Ghouta will provide enough momentum for a swift victory.”

On Tuesday, a false alarm caused more tension. Aerial defenses detected what appeared to be a missile strike in the Homs area, leading the SANA news agency to report an “outside aggression.”  The agency later corrected the report without offering details on what caused the false alarm.


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