The United States blamed the Assad regime for delaying the UN inspectors’ arrival to the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta and said the Assad regime had a history of trying to “hide the evidence before the investigation team entered. The US accusations came amid reports of bodies of victims of the April 7 chemical attack being unearthed by regime forces.
“We are fully aware of the delay imposed by the regime on that delegation, but we also know very well how they worked before and hid what they did using chemical weapons,” US Defense Secretary Jim Matisse said before starting a meeting with his Qatari counterpart on Wednesday.
President of the Syrian Coalition Abdurrahman Mustafa said that the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians no longer needs to be proved.
Activists in Douma said that the Assad regime forces and Russian military police unearthed bodies of the victims of the chemical attack. They said that the Assad regime and Russian military police established a security cordon around the site of the attack.
Activists quoted residents of the town as saying that they saw trucks entering the town but they said they did not know if the bodies were being transported to unknown locations.
Directors of the Syrian Civil Defense Corps, Raed al-Saleh, said they had informed the UN inspectors of the burial sites of the victims of the chemical attack. Saleh warned that the Assad regime and Russia might try to change the burial sites and tamper with evidence in the crime scene.
A UN source in Syria told Reuters that the UN chemical weapons inspectors were not able to go into the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday. Chemical weapons inspectors had to delay visiting the site of the chemical weapons attack in Douma after a UN security team reported gunfire at the location a day earlier, sources briefed on the team’s deployment told Reuters.
A preparatory team entered Douma on Tuesday, but not the experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the source added.
Associated Press journalists who entered Douma on Monday said that they spoke to survivors of the chemical attack who confirmed they were exposed to toxic gases. The survivors spoke to the journalists only when regime forces were away and could not hear for fear of reprisal.
In response to the April 7 attack on Douma, the United Stets, Greta Britain, and France launched missile strikes against military installations of the Assad regime that it used for the manufacture and storage of chemical weapons. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)