Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

United Kingdom envoy says briefing arranged by Russia, Syria at OPCW is 'stunt'

United Kingdom envoy says briefing arranged by Russia, Syria at OPCW is 'stunt'

A week after the suspected attack, two US officials told NBC News that blood and urine samples from victims of the attack suggested the presence of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent.

Three children took part in the briefing at the Hague in the Netherlands, during which Syrians brought there by Russian Federation said that there was no gas attack in the city of Douma this month. There were no chemical traces or smells. President Assad has repeatedly violated the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), a multilateral treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons.

The Syrians ahead of the press conference organised by Russian Federation in The Netherlands.

Russian Federation today sought to rebut allegations of Syrian involvement in the chemical attack on Douma earlier this month by bringing 17 witnesses to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquarters in The Hague. "Consequently, the references our Western partners - we call them "partners' - make to the runner as a piece of evidence of the chemical attack are simply null and void".

Lebanon's foreign minister has criticized the United Nations refugee agency, saying it's warning Syrian refugees in Lebanon not to return to their war-torn country.

The OPCW said samples collected by its team in Douma will be sent to its labs for analysis.

However, the OPCW is not mandated to fix blame for the attack.

The U.S., Britain and France launched airstrikes on April 14, targeting suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

Syria's government and Russian Federation have denied responsibility for the chemical attack.

Russia's ambassador to the Netherlands said the video was "staged" by the White Helmets, a Syrian aid group that receives funding from the U.S. and other Western governments. Syria and Russian Federation deny the claims.

The Syrian entourage was then presented to the media at a freakish press conference in which the opposition activist's video of each of them in the hospital on the night of the attack was projected onto a big screen behind them as they delivered prepared remarks to reporters. The boy said he was in a basement when he was told to go to the hospital, where he was doused with water. "We got scared. We went to the hospital through the tunnel", he said, largely echoing what his father had said before him.

"Unknown people started creating chaos, and pouring water on people".

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"I think this is a cheap attempt by the Russians to deny the obvious, and I think this is very desperate", said Husari.

However, opposition activists and first responders maintain the attack did take place and was carried out by the Syrian regime.

"Little Hassan is an eyewitness today, an extremely important witness", Shulgin said, speaking through an interpreter. "They are afraid to look at the truth in face", said Shulgin.

He says Sunday's reports by Russia's Rossiya-1 and Channel One showed behind-the-scenes images from the set of his short film, "Kimawi", Arabic for "chemical", as it was being shot in the eastern Ghouta region in September 2016.

But he added: "The Kim family is one of those regimes, however".

The United States and its allies were not convinced.

"Medical NGOs have found traces of chemical agents on the victims".

"Photographs and videos, numerous and mutually reinforcing, have been authenticated", the statement read. "The symptoms of more than 500 patients who presented on the same day of the attack in health care facilities undoubtedly corresponded to gas intoxication", the statement said.

"The OPCW is not a theatre", said Peter Wilson, the United Kingdom's representative to the group, to the BBC.

French ambassador Philippe Lalliot also denounced the briefing as an "obscene masquerade".

State news agency SANA said Thursday that dozens of IS fighters were killed in battles in the southern Damascus neighborhood of Hajar al-Aswad during which ground forces closely coordinated with the air force in bombarding the area.

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