MOSCOW, April 10. /TASS/. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will dispatch a special mission to the city of Douma located in Eastern Ghouta to verify reports on the alleged use of chemical weapons, the organization said in a statement posted on its website.
"Since the first reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, were issued, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been gathering information from all available sources and analyzing it. At the same time, OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations," the statement reads. "Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment."
The organization noted that the decision coincided with a request from Syria and Russia "to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma." "The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly," the press service said.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry earlier sent a formal invitation to the OPCW mission to visit Eastern Ghouta. The ministry confirmed "the Syrian authorities’ willingness to render all possible assistance to the OPCW mission." The Syrian Foreign Ministry stressed in its statement that the Syrian government "is seeking cooperation with the OPCW to expose all fake news stories disseminated by some Western countries in order to justify their aggressive intentions."
Some NGOs, including the White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, a suburb of the Syrian capital on April 7. According to the statement uploaded to the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. Earlier, various official Russian agencies repeatedly warned that preparations had been in the works around different parts of Syria for provocations and simulations of chemical attacks that would be blamed on Damascus.