MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. The Pentagon report that experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were denied access to Eastern Ghouta is utterly false, Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated on her Facebook page on Saturday.
"The Pentagon has justified the US strikes on Syria before the OPCW was supposed to have made any conclusions on the nature of the chemical attack by saying that Damascus had denied the experts access to Eastern Ghouta," Zakharova reported.
"This is a lie. Damascus approved the arrival of the OPCW experts. They were supposed to receive Syrian visas upon crossing the Lebanese border. They would have faced no obstacles," the diplomat noted. "It seems like this is why they attacked before the arrival of the experts," Zakharova stressed.
Earlier, the head of the Pentagon stated that Russia and Syria were trying to deny access to OPCW’s experts and hoped that the Syrian government would let them come to the location of the alleged attack.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructures was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with the British and French air forces between 03:42 and 05:10 Moscow time on Saturday. As the ministry reported, the Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the US-led coalition. Earlier, Washington, London and Paris said these strikes were in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of Syria’s capital. The incident reportedly occurred on April 7.
A number of NGOs, including the White Helmets, disseminated reports on the alleged incident. The Defense Ministry warned that the White Helmets are notorious for spreading falsified information. Representatives of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides held a probe in Douma on April 9 but found no traces of chemical weapons use. OPCW experts were due to begin their investigation at the scene of the alleged chemical attack on Saturday.