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OPCW inspectors to exhume bodies of victims of chemical attack in Douma

The OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu described the whole operation as a sensitive process

LONDON, May 3. /TASS/. Inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] plan exhuming the bodies of victims of the presumed chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, the OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said in an interview published on Thursday by The Financial Times.

"From the bodies already buried we are looking for ways to exhume if possible and take some biological samples," he said, adding that it could be a month until the OPCW's fact-finding mission published its report on Douma.

Uzumcu described the whole operation as a sensitive process.

"That's why we are very cautious," he said. "Although our experts have been able to attend some autopsies in the past, this is going to be the first time we have exhumed bodies."

Reports on the alleged use of a chemical warfare agent in Douma on April 7 were circulated by a number of nongovernmental organizations, including the White Helmets. Officials from the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring sides in Syria said on April 9 they had not found any traces of chemical weapons during an inspection in Douma.

A day later, the OPCW took a decision to send experts to Syria for verifying the reports from the NGOs.

The mission arrived in Damascus on April 14. Several hours prior to their arrival, the US, the UK and France delivered amassed missile strikes on Syria, using the reports on the incident as an apparent pretext.

On April 26, Russia and Syria held a news briefing at the OPCW where they had brought seventeen eyewitnesses from Douma who confirmed there was no attack there and the White Helmets had actually forged the video footage.