Friday, 14 April 2017

OPCW declines to comment on its probe into Syria chemical weapons incident

(TASS) The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has neither confirmed nor denied information about sending experts to Turkey to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“On the Reuters story I have to answer what we answered many times before: The OPCW cannot and will not release information about an on-going investigation,” a source from the OPCW press service told TASS on Thursday in reply to a request to confirm the fact of the dispatch of experts.
 Earlier on Thursday, Reuters reported referring to sources that the global chemical weapons watchdog has sent a team of experts to Turkey who will then fly to Syria for a probe into an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian province of Idlib last week.
“The fact finding mission was sent from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague to gather bio-metric samples and interview survivors,” Reuters quoted sources.
Russia has submitted its proposal on involving extra inspectors in the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, in Syria’s Idlib, at Thursday’s meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in the day.
“We are very alarmed by the desire of foreign partners in the UN Security Council to make every effort to avoid a fair investigation into this incident,” Lavrov said. “Today, the Executive Council of the OPCW is holding an emergency meeting in The Hague, and we submitted our proposal there on forming such a delegation on the basis of this organization involving extra inspectors,” he said.
The US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military airfield in Syria’s Homs province overnight to April 7 on orders issued by US President Donald Trump. The strike came in response to what Washington claims was Damascus’ use of chemical weapons in the Idlib province.
On Wednesday, Russia blocked a draft resolution at the UN Security Council, which said that Damascus must hand over all data on April 4 flights to the OPCW and provide access to the airbases that could be used to carry out a strike against Khan Sheikhoun.

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