Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that a UN security team has entered the city of Douma. The inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are scheduled to visit on Wednesday. UPDATE: UN security teams have reported that gunfire is delaying the arrival of the inspectors.
The OPCW inspectors did not visit Monday, and there were a lot of allegations exchanged as to why. The Syrian Ambassador’s comment appears to lend credence to Syria’s previous claim that UN security concerns prevented the visit.
British officials had claimed Russia and Syria were preventing the visit. Earlier this month, there were allegations of a chemical weapons strike against Douma. There is no public proof that the strike took place, and a mounting amount of doubt that it didn’t, driven by inquiries from Robert Fisk. Residents within Douma have also expressed doubts about the strike.
OAN investigators weren’t able to confirm any evidence of a chemical weapons attack on Douma. To the extent that investigations are happening, they suggest there was no chemical strike.
Clearly, Douma was attacked by Syrian forces on that day, and the day prior. Those strikes, however, were insisted by the Syrian government to be purely conventional strikes. There is little to suggest anything else, beyond claims from the White Helmets, and Western nations claiming to have secret proof.
Syria and Russia have both denied from the start that the attack took place, and they have believed the OPCW visit would reveal the truth. Russia in particular was pushing for an investigation to take place before any rash action against Syria. Ultimately, US-led attacks on Syria happened Friday night.
The US seems to be anticipating the OPCW probe not going their way, and is already accusing Syria and Russia of plotting to tamper with the site. There’s no evidence of tampering of any kind. The US suggestion was based on the fact that Russian military police visited the site. The visit, however, was done days ago, and Russia said it was meant to deter the West from attacking Douma and destroying evidence.
Since the US, Britain, and France already attacked Syria, they have little reason to want the OPCW visit to be successful. They clearly weren’t interested in getting the facts before the strike, and facts that don’t support their narrative could be very embarrassing.