WASHINGTON, April 20. /TASS/. Russia and Syria are trying to sanitize the locations of suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Douma, Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press briefing on Thursday.
"We can confirm that the OPCW team has not still been able to enter Douma in Syria… We have credible information that indicates that Russian officials are working with the Syrian regime to deny and to delay these inspectors (OPCW - TASS) from gaining access to Douma. We believe it is an effort to conduct their own staged investigations. We believe Russian officials have worked with the Syrian regime to sanitize the locations of those suspected attacks and remove incriminating evidence of chemical weapons use," she said.
"We have also watched as some people have been pressured by the (Syrian) government to change their stories about what actually occurred that night (on April 7). We have reports from credible people on the ground, we have indicated that they have been pressured by both Russia and Syria to change their stories, to try to change their stories so that is does not appear that Russia and Syria are responsible for attacks, and we certainly know that Syria is responsible for those attacks," the diplomat emphasized.
A number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets, allege that a chemical weapons attack took place in Eastern Ghouta’s town of Douma on April 7. The White Helmets claimed that the attack had particularly involved chlorine-filled bombs. According to the White Helmets, dozens died in the attack, while 500 people "reached the medical centers with symptoms of exposure to chemicals."
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the statement as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were known for spreading fabricated news.