MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. Moscow expects the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to issue an impartial report on the chemical weapons attack that allegedly happened in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Friday.
"We continue facilitating the investigation that OPCW experts are carrying out in the town of Douma, first and foremost, by ensuring security," she said. "As far as we understand, the work is going on according to plan. They have already collected samples at two facilities mentioned in regard with the alleged chemical weapons attack - a laboratory and a depot. We expect that the OPCW technical mission will be completed, resulting in an impartial and professional report," Zakharova added.
The Russian diplomat also pointed to a briefing held at the OPCW headquarters several days ago, which involved Douma’s residents. Zakharova expressed regret over the fact that Western countries had boycotted the event, while Western media had launched a propaganda campaign "aimed at intimidating the people who wanted to tell what had actually happened."
Alleged chemical weapons attack
A number of non-government organizations, including the White Helmets, earlier alleged that a chemical weapons attack had taken place in Eastern Ghouta’s town of Douma on April 7.
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed this allegation as a bogus story, while Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets were known for spreading fabricated news. On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.
On April 10, a decision was made to send OPCW experts to Douma to assess the situation on the ground and collect information about the alleged chemical incident.
OPCW experts arrived in Damascus on April 14. However, several hours before that, the United States, in coordination with the United Kingdom and France, had launched missile strikes on Syria’s military and civilian infrastructure facilities, claiming it to be a response to the alleged chemical weapons attack.
On April 25, Moscow and Damascus held a briefing at the OPCW headquarters, which particularly involved 17 witnesses to the events that had occurred in Douma on April 7. They confirmed that there had been no chemical weapons attack while the video released by the White Helmets had been staged.