In Brief

Investigators to visit Syria chemical attack site

Announcement follows days of delay amid fears evidence may have been destroyed

Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have been cleared to visit the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma.

The OPCW team, which has been in Syria since Saturday, will be allowed to visit the site on Wednesday, after initially being denied access by Syria and Russia due to “security issues”.

A representative of the Russian military, who was speaking to journalists at The Hague, announced that permission had been granted for the OPCW investigators to visit Douma.

"Wednesday is when we expect the arrival of the OPCW experts and Russia is not preventing this in any way," Igor Kirillov said.

US officials are concerned that Russia “may have tampered with evidence at the site”, CNN reports.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the allegation, telling the BBC he could “guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site.”

Both Syria and Russia have vehemently denied that any chemical weapons attack took place.

Russia’s envoy to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, accused the Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets of using US funds to fake the attack, calling it a “staged thing”.

The OPCW investigators are expected to gather soil and other samples from the site of the suspected attack to determine which substances, if any, were used in the attack.

But The Guardian says the organisation could be “fatally weakened” by Russian efforts to limit the OPCW’s “mandate to ascribe responsibility for attacks”.

Recommended

‘Pubs in last chancellor saloon’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘Pubs in last chancellor saloon’

Salami made from celebrities ‘sign of Biblical apocalypse’
Chopped salami
Tall Tales

Salami made from celebrities ‘sign of Biblical apocalypse’

Government criticised for cutting aid to ‘poverty superpower’ Yemen
Starving Yemeni child
In Brief

Government criticised for cutting aid to ‘poverty superpower’ Yemen

Business Unwrapped - China’s culture and customs
China and the UK shaking hands
Sponsored

Business Unwrapped - China’s culture and customs

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?
Harry and Meghan
The latest on . . .

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?