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Attack on UN team delays chemical weapons probe

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/19/18, 11:41 am

Gunmen in the Syrian town of Douma opened fire on a United Nations security team visiting the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, forcing it to turn back. The attack caused yet another delay in the fact-finding mission to verify the chemical assault. Ahmet Uzumcu, who heads the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said the team on Tuesday returned to the Syrian capital, Damascus, after gunmen shot at them and detonated an explosive device. The OPCW sent the team to Syria on Saturday following reports of an April 7 chemical attack that killed at least 40 people. The team has remained in Damascus, waiting for permission from Syria and its ally Russia to proceed. UN spokesman Stephane Durrajic on Wednesday said further security measures must be in place before inspectors can go back to Douma. Syria recently regained control of Douma and other towns in the Eastern Ghouta enclave after intense clashes with rebels. Syrian state media on Thursday said hundreds of Syrian rebels in the neighboring town of Dumayr surrendered their weapons and left as part of an evacuation deal.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Thu, 04/19/2018 01:56 pm

    This is ridiculous.  My father never sought permission to verify that the facts matched my claims. I never resisted, but doing so would have brought out the grizzly. The UN needs to be more like my dad.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 04/19/2018 02:21 pm

    In a case like this, permission also involves the Syrian and Russian authorities assuring the U.N. team can inspect the site without being killed. I doubt either the Syrians or Russians are eager to cooperate. Even if they were, with so many factions in Syria, I’m sure securing Douma will not be easy.  Can we really expect the inspection team to fight their way into Douma? 

    By the time the Syrian situation reaches a conclusion, Mr. Assad will be ruling over little more than wreckage.