The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) will start its investigation into the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Duma on Saturday amid calls by some Western countries for a response to the incident.
The situation in Syria significantly escalated over the last week because of an alleged chemical attack in the city of Duma, located in the embattled Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, reports of which first emerged on Saturday. Western nations, particularly France, the United States, and the United Kingdom, have blamed the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad for the attack, and have been considering a military response to the incident.
Damascus, in turn, has denied the accusations of having attacked civilians using chemical weapons in Duma. Russia, which has been supporting Assad’s forces, has also refuted the accusations made against the Syrian government, pointing to the lack of evidence.
Moscow has called for a thorough investigation into the alleged attack to be conducted before conclusions are drawn.
On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it had substantial and convincing evidence confirming that the April 7 chemical attack in Duma was a provocation staged with direct involvement of the United Kingdom. The ministry expressed hope that the OPCW mission would not fall under pressure of third parties and would conduct an objective investigation of the alleged attack.
Also on Friday, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Al-Jaafari said that Syria had provided the full facilitation to the OPCW team to conduct its probe in a transparent manner.