All news

Russia, Syria to protect OPCW experts during their enquiry in Douma — Russia’s UN envoy

"The Syrian authorities said they would open all gates for them," Nebenzya said

UN, April 12. /TASS/. Russia and Syria will jointly ensure the safety of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), who were tasked with investigating reports of a chemical attack in the city of Douma near Damascus, Russia’s UN envoy said on Thursday.

Vasily Nebenzya told reporters after a UN Security Council session held behind closed doors that Moscow would do its best to assist in investigating the reported incident.

"The Syrian authorities said they would open all gates for them," he continued. "They are ready to accept them and provide any necessary assistance. We said we would together ensure their security while working there."

He also expressed hope that the international investigators arrive in Syria as soon as possible, and nothing will hinder their work.

A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, have alleged that chemical weapons had been used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports as fake news. The Defense Ministry added that the White Helmets were notorious for spreading falsehoods.

On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria visited Douma but found no trace of chemical weapons there.

Several Russian official agencies have repeatedly warned that preparations were being made in different parts of Syria for provocations and simulated chemical attacks, which could be blamed on government forces.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has sent its investigators to the site of the purported Douma attack. According to Syria’s UN envoy, Bashar Ja’afari, the first group of four OPCW experts has already received permission to enter the country.