BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – The U.S. accused Russia on Thursday of helping Syria conceal the use of chemical weapons inside the country.

According to the Reuters News Agency, the U.S. accused Russia of undermining the work of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the global agency attempting to identify if these weapons were used in Syria.

The comments by the U.S. representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Kenneth Ward, drew a rapid denial from Moscow and came as Western powers and Russia clashed at the agency’s annual conference in The Hague.

Moscow has for months cited dissent by two former OPCW employees who leaked a document and an email as evidence that the OPCW doctored the conclusions of a March 1 report which found that a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in a 2018 attack near Damascus.

The alleged chemical weapons on Douma took place in early April 2018 when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) was rapidly advancing through the last areas under the control of the militant forces in the East Ghouta region of Damascus.

Following the accusations of chemical weapons usage, the U.S. and its allies, France and Great Britain, launched a powerful attack on the government’s positions inside the country, prompting Damascus, Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran to condemn these actions.

Syria maintains it did not use chemical weapons in Douma, something the Russian military has also corroborated since these accusations were first made.

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