OPCW investigators arrive in Douma says Syrian state media
Syrian state media reported Tuesday that investigators from the world’s chemical watchdog had entered Douma, a town outside Damascus where an alleged gas attack happened.
The suspected gas attack on April 7 reportedly left more than 40 people dead and was blamed by Western powers on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In response, the US, France and Britain conducted unprecedented missile strikes on Syrian military installations, but Paris admitted on Tuesday they were a matter of “honor” that had solved nothing.
“Experts from the chemical weapons committee enter the town of Douma,” state news agency SANA wrote, referring to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The inspectors arrived in Damascus on the day of the Western strikes but had not been allowed to enter Douma.
France and the US appeared to question the purpose of such a mission, warning that any incriminating evidence had likely been removed by now.
“It is highly likely that evidence and essential elements disappear from the site, which is completely controlled by the Russian and Syrian armies,” the French foreign ministry said.
In an impassioned defence to the European Parliament on Tuesday, France’s President Emmanuel Macron admitted that Saturday’s strikes had been a more political than military decision.
“Three countries have intervened, and let me be quite frank, quite honest – this is for the honour of the international community,” he said in the French city of Strasbourg.
“These strikes don’t necessarily resolve anything but I think they were important,” Macron added.
The French leader was also set to strip Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of a prestigious award he was granted by former president Jacques Chirac in 2001.