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Syria invites chemical weapons inspectors to probe attack claims

12 April 2018, 07:23 | Lucy Hill

Syrian government forces backed by Russia have pounded Eastern Ghouta in recent months

Syrian government forces backed by Russia have pounded Eastern Ghouta in recent months

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The Assad regime has invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a team to investigate allegations of a chemical attack in the eastern Ghouta town of Douma, state media reported on Tuesday.

"President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Russian Federation first vetoed a US-drafted text to create a mechanism that would have the authority to assign blame for chemical attacks in the war-torn country.

Warnings from US President Donald Trump there would be a "big price to pay" for the alleged attack have raised the spectre of an American strike on Syria, setting up a potential confrontation with regime backer Russian Federation.

In anticipation for a potential strike, Syria's military forces across the country were also simultaneously mobilising, according to a war monitor.

Theresa May is planning to join the USA in taking military action in Syria without a vote in Parliament, according to a new report from the BBC.

She accused Russian Federation of repeatedly shielding President Bashar Assad instead of working for Security Council unity.

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Meanwhile, Assad and Russian Federation are calling for an global inspection of the alleged chemical attack, which has been reported across Western media outlets with graphic images of child casualties. Lyons called that response "small" and recommended Mr. Trump think "through whether he wants a tactical response, something quick on the ground, or he's got to think through the strategy hopefully involving our allies".

Russian Federation and Syria have blamed Israel for an attack on a Syrian military airport on Monday that reportedly killed at least 14 people.

Access to the area, which has faced weeks of regime bombardment, is limited and Agence France-Presse has not independently verified the accounts.

A draft resolution requires nine votes to be adopted in the 15-member council and no veto from the five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Reports suggested more than 500 people, mostly women and children, were brought to medical centres with difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth, and burning sensations in the eyes.

It said this included breathing difficulties, bluish skin, mouth foaming, corneal burns and "the emission of chlorine-like odour".

At least 60 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured last Saturday when the Assad regime reportedly launched a chemical attack in Douma.

The French representative at the UN Security Council said poison gas had deliberately been used as it could seep down to the basements.



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