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OPCW likely to hold Damascus responsible for Douma attack, says Russian envoy

March 11, 21:49 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

Alexander Shulgin believes that "the guilty have already been assigned"

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THE HAGUE, March 11. /TASS/. The incident in Syria’s Douma on April 7 of last year may become the first case of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) using its new attributive functions, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin stated during a press conference on Monday.

"We have to state that [when preparing a report on Douma], the OPCW experts did not dare to contradict the US, France and the UK, who chose to take justice into their own hands and avoid any other version besides their own, on the involvement of the Syrian government in what took place in Douma on April 7, 2018," the diplomat said. "The OPCW report is rather vague on this: allegedly, there is an assumption that chlorine was used as a chemical weapon. However, the fact speaks volumes: at that time, Douma was under the militants’ control, therefore, the part about chemical weapons being used definitely prepares the international community to hold the official Damascus responsible."

"It is likely that this will be one of the first conclusions of the OPCW Attribution team (prosecution team), created in the depths of the OPCW Technical Secretariat under pressure from the USA and in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention," the envoy said. "It is clear that the US and its allies will use these biased conclusions again, as the guilty have already been assigned. They will use them to carry out unilateral forceful actions against lawful Syrian officials."

A report consisting of over 100 pages was spread among member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention on March 1. The report claims that on April 7, 2018, a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in Syria’s Douma as a weapon.

A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta. According to a statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, 2018, chlorine bombs had been dropped on the city, which caused dozens of fatalities. Many other civilians were rumored to have been taken to hospital.

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed this as fake news.

On April 14, 2018, the US, the UK and France delivered massive missile strikes at targets in Syria without authorization of the UN Security Council. Missiles hit a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the Republican Guard, an air defense base, several military airbases, and army depots. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes had come as a response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma.

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