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Syrian TV: False alarm set off air defenses

17 April 2018

In Douma, at least 40 people are believed to have died in the suspected chemical attack on April 7.

OPCW inspectors arrived in Damascus on Saturday and had planned to head to Douma, on the outskirts of the capital, on Monday.

The OPCW was holding an emergency meeting in The Hague to discuss the suspected chemical attack in Douma.

A child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. He told reporters in Moscow that the inspectors could not go to the site because they need permission from the U.N. Department for Safety and Security.

Syria says it knocked down 71 of the 105 missiles fired, but the USA says all missiles hit their targets.

Both Russia and the Syrian government have welcomed the OPCW visit. Instead he said it was the United States, France and Britain who were "standing in the way" of the investigation by ordering air strikes "in the blink of an eye" before the OPCW team had had a chance to do their work.

The media activist claimed that the warplanes had taken off from the Al Shayrat or the Tiyas airbase in Homs controlled by the Syrian government.

Russia is also challenging an OPCW finding that a nerve agent was found in an attack in Salisbury on the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

USA officials are concerned that Russian Federation "may have tampered with evidence at the site", CNN reports.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said several coordination meetings were held with the OPCW team, but he did not provide any further details about their schedule. State television showed footage of police deploying in the town on Sunday, waving victory signs and Syrian flags.

The dictionary definition of terrorism is: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes, the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorisation and a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

A senior Russian diplomat has said inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog can not access the site of an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital without an appropriate United Nations permit. The OPCW team does not have a mandate to assign blame for the attack.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Sunday the United States would announce new economic sanctions aimed at companies dealing with equipment related to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

That was the pattern after the United States struck Syrian targets a year ago in retaliation for a chemical attack.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that British accusations that Russian Federation is preventing inspectors from visiting Douma are "groundless", and insisted Russian Federation has been calling for an "objective investigation" all along.

There was a show of support for Syrian leader Bashar Al Asad in Damascus today as hundreds of protestors saluted the country's armed forces, claiming Syrian air defenses intercepted most of the missiles fired by the west over the weekend. They also set off fireworks and unleashed celebratory gunfire.

Shouts of "Allah, Syria, and only Bashar", a reference to Assad, rang out.

The weekend's airstrikes have increased worldwide tension, as the USA and Russian Federation exchanged threats of retaliation.

Washington, meanwhile, prepared to increase pressure on Russian Federation with new economic sanctions. Less than one year later, Syria destroyed its hoard of declared chemical weapons, as verified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"We consider such accusations against Russian Federation to be groundless", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was in favour of "an impartial investigation". The joint body was created in 2015 and found the Syrian government responsible for a sarin gas attack on Khan Shaykhoun, a rebel-held area in northern Syria previous year.

But it later admitted that it was a false alarm, not outside aggression, that triggered Syrian air defenses.

Syrian TV: False alarm set off air defenses