MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. There is the need to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Douma, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said following talks with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday.
"As for the missile attacks that took place last weekend and the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma on April 7, I have said in an interview that our foreign policy is based on facts so we believe there should be an investigation," Kneissl stressed. "There are multilateral mechanisms for that, the OPCW [the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] may be engaged, and we actually did it a week ago," she added.
According to the Austrian top diplomat, the Chemical Weapons Convention provides an opportunity "to engage local experts, as well as laboratories, but it will take time, though conditions will be created for that."
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 Russian Foreign Ministry slammed these statements as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were known for spreading fabricated news. On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.
On April 10, a decision was made to send OPCW experts to Douma to assess the situation on the ground and collect information about the alleged chemical incident.
However, on April 14, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and France, launched missile strikes on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities, claiming it to be a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack. Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies.