False alarm, not outside attack, sets off Syria air defenses

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He said the regime had done "all that it can do to facilitate the work" of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors who had already started their investigation, listening to witnesses to the suspected April 7 chemical attack.

Global investigators on Tuesday (Apr 17) entered a Syrian town hit by an alleged chemical attack, after days of delay and warnings by Western powers that crucial evidence had likely been removed. The team arrived in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Saturday.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is "futile" since Washington and its allies already identified who the "culprits" are, referencing the US-led attack on Syria.

They would join tens of thousands who have been transferred in recent weeks from rebel-held areas around Damascus to areas in northern Syria controlled by rebel groups.

The U.N. -mandated Independent International Commission on Syria has documented more than 30 chemical attacks in Syria between 2013 and the end of 2017 - at least 25 of them carried out by the Syrian military, the commission says.

The security team entered Douma earlier to determine whether the experts can deploy there today, said Ambassador Bashar Jaafari.

OPCW refused to provide comment to The Daily Caller News Foundation on operational matters in order to ensure the safety of inspection team.

Nebenzia told the council that not even a day after the airstrikes, the U.S., France and Britain circulated a draft United Nations resolution calling for an urgent resumption of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition as well as an independent body to assess blame for chemical attacks and humanitarian access throughout Syria.

The U.S. and France say they have evidence that poison gas was used in Douma, east of Damascus, killing dozens of people, and that President Bashar Assad's military was behind it, but they have made none of that evidence public.

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A false alarm led to Syrian air defence missiles being fired overnight and no new attack on Syria took place, Syrian state media and a military commander said on Tuesday.

After the recapture of eastern Ghouta, Assad still has several smaller pockets of ground to recover from rebels, as well as two major areas they hold in the northwest and southwest.

The OPCW team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied that Russia interfered with any evidence.

Alexander Shulgin, the Russian envoy at the OPCW in The Hague, said allegations that Russia might destroy evidence reflected Washington's effort to justify Saturday's strikes.

United States officials have raised concerns that Russian Federation may have tampered with the site while inspectors were denied access. The latest weapons being used against civilians in Syria are chemical weapons.

The "mission has not been accomplished", said Suzanne Akhras, president of the Syrian Community Network.

British Prime Minister Theresa May accused the Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation of trying to cover up evidence and obstruct the investigation.

"We certainly did get additional insights into the targeting of the facilities, what we knew about it, what we know about the attack itself, what these facilities were used for, what actions if any took place between the time the President announced we were going to strike and when we did strike, so we got an additional granularity", said California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

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