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OPCW Fact-Finding Mission visits Douma - organization

April 21, 18:20 updated at: April 21, 18:35 UTC+3

The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma

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THE HAGUE, April 21. /TASS/. The Fact-Finding Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have managed to visit one the sites of alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma, the OPCW said on Saturday.

"The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited one of the sites in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic today to collect samples for analysis in connection with allegations of chemical weapons use on 7 April 2018. The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma," the organization said in a press release.

The samples collected in the Syrian town of Douma "will be transported to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk and then dispatched for analysis to the OPCW’s designated labs," the press release says.

"Based on the analysis of the sample results as well other information and materials collected by the team, the FFM will compile their report for submission to the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention for their consideration," it reads.

According to the White Helmets organization, a chemical weapons attack allegedly took place in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. Russia’s Foreign Ministry slammed this allegation as a bogus story, while the country’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets was not a reliable source of information, as they were known for disseminating fake news. On April 9, officers from the Russian center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria explored Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons. On April 10, the OPCW made a decision to dispatch to Douma the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team which mandate is to establish facts of the suspected use of toxic chemicals in Syria.

On April 14, the United States, the United Kingdom and France carried out a massive missile strike on Syria without getting a go-ahead from the United Nations Security Council. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes were launched in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. The strikes targeted a research facility in Damascus, the Syrian Guard headquarters, an air defense base, a few military airfields and army depots.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities was carried out by US planes and naval ships in cooperation with British and French air forces between 03:42 and 05:10 Moscow time. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian air defenses managed to shoot down 71 out of 103 missiles. Three civilians were injured in the strikes.

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