United Nations security team came under fire in Syria's Douma

United Nations security team came under fire in Syria's Douma”

Uzumcu said that the United Nations security team was set to perform reconnaissance at two sites in Douma on April 17 ahead of the arrival of the OPCW inspectors.

The OPCW chief said the two suspected attack sites were under the control of the Russian military police. "The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus".

Assad continues to deny using chemical weapons, telling visiting Russian politicians that Western air strikes against his country were accompanied by a campaign of "lies" and misinformation at the UN.

"The use of chemical weapons crosses a red line", he said.

"It was a message from the people", said the official.

The U.N. -mandated Independent International Commission on Syria has documented more than 30 chemical attacks in Syria between 2013 and the end of 2017 - and says at least 25 of them were carried out by the Syrian military.

The OPCW would not reveal to CNN its team's whereabouts, saying it was unable to share operational details to "to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process and its results", as well as for security reasons.

The United States, France and Britain have accused Assad's regime of carrying out the suspected chemical attack, but Russian Federation and Syria deny toxic gas was used in Douma.

"Every day matters", he told CNN recently.

"On arrival at site one, a large crowd gathered and the advice provided by the UNDSS was that the reconnaissance team should withdraw", he told a meeting at the watchdog's headquarters in remarks it later released.

Asked when the United Nations security team would make another visit, he said, "as soon as practicable".

Russian Federation has openly announced that its representatives have been to the site, and a CBS journalist has also accessed the site, reporting from the location in recent days.

Earlier this week, Doane and his team were allowed access to the site the weapons experts are still trying to reach.

The day before, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said at a meeting at the OPCW headquarters in The Hague that the United Nations security team was forced to retreat, delaying the arrival of chemical weapons inspectors due to visit the site of the alleged attack.

Beyond working to avoid civilian casualties, Mattis and other U.S. officials tailored the strikes in a way to avoid triggering retaliation from Moscow and Tehran. Information on the attack site is murky, and different sides are giving conflicting details and accusing one another of cooking up conspiracy theories. Then Syrian state media claimed on Tuesday that the inspectors had entered the town. CNN could not corroborate that allegation. Again, we are being threatened.

In total Syria fired 40 interceptor missiles in response to the attack but 38 of them launched after the strike was over, according to The Daily Beast.

Nebenzia went on to call Washington and its allies "self-appointed executioners" and accused them of pressuring Russian Federation to change its position after the latest round of airstrikes and a promised new round of sanctions.

Assad's regime in February launched a blistering assault on Eastern Ghouta, a semi-rural area within mortar range of central Damascus that had been in opposition hands for six years.

"Rather than changing its harmful and destructive behavior, the Russian government offers only denials and counteraccusations to deflect attention from its culpability", it added.

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