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OPCW experts will arrive in Beirut to go on mission to Damascus — source

April 13, 2018, 10:37 UTC+3 BEIRUT

The experts will investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria

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BEIRUT, April 13. /TASS/. A large number of experts of the international chemical watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), will arrive in Beirut on Friday to later go to Damascus, a source in the UN regional office in the Lebanese capital said.

The experts will be part of the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Staff members of the office of the UN special envoy for Syria have arrived from Damascus to accompany the experts, the source said, without giving details on the exact number.

"The trip to Damascus is scheduled soon, the Syrian authorities have pledged to resolve all technical issues related to accommodating the experts and their arrival to the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta," the source said.

The international chemical watchdog’s experts will begin work in Syria on Saturday, a spokesman for the OPCW said. The Syrian government confirmed that it is "keen on cooperating with the OPCW to uncover the truth behind the allegations that some western sides have been advertising to justify their aggressive intentions."

"Damascus welcomes the upcoming visit of the OPCW mission and hopes that the experts’ work will be transparent and based on true evidence," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "In this case, the Syrian government’s non-involvement in the chemical attack, which was fabricated by the United States and its terrorist allies, will be confirmed."

A number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets, allege that a chemical weapons attack took place in Douma on April 7. The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the statement as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were not a reliable source of information as they were notorious for spreading fabricated news.

The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons.

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