MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Damascus has pinned responsibility on Western countries for any delay in the work of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), said SANA news agency citing a statement released by Syria’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
"Syria blames any delay in the team’s arrival and performance of duties on Western countries that are attempting to obstruct the mission," the statement says.
"Western countries are making attempts to hinder implementation of the goals set for members of the [OPCW] Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) [which mandate is to establish facts of the use of toxic chemicals in Syria - TASS] and are meddling with their work," the document says.
In addition, the foreign ministry confirms "Damascus’ adherence to cooperation with the FFM, proceeding from commitments made by Syria that joined the OPCW [in 2013]."
Earlier, the first group of FFM experts was reported to have arrived in Beirut. They are due to head to Damascus on Friday to take on their duties.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry noted that the United States and some western countries "are trying to mislead the world community, by spiraling a campaign of the West’s spiteful speculations related to the purported use of toxic substances in the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta."
"That is done in the interests of West’s aggressive schemes against Syria," the statement reads.
Douma alleged chemical weapons attack
Some non-governmental organizations, including White Helmets, claim that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, 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 White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons. Earlier, various official Russian agencies repeatedly warned that preparations had been underway in different parts of Syria for provocations and simulations of chemical attacks that would be blamed on government forces.
Russia and Syria have invited OPCW experts to visit the town of Douma in order to find out what had happened there. The OPCW replied that a mission would be deployed to the affected town and asked the Syrian government to make necessary preparations.