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WHO Denies Team Carried Out Mission to Syria's Douma on Tuesday - Spokesman

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarPeople stand in front of damaged buildings, in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018
People stand in front of damaged buildings, in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 16, 2018 - Sputnik International
The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a delegation to Syria's Duma only to assess the medical situation in connection with the alleged use of chemical weapons in the city and will have no role in confirming or denying whether the attack had taken place, a spokesman for the organization, Tarik Jasarevic, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"Very important to note that WHO has no role in confirming or denying that an event has taken place. As a health agency, our concern is with the health dimension of the reported event," Jasarevic said.

Jasarevic further denied the suggestions that the organization's staff had carried out a mission to Syria's Douma earlier in the day.

"There is no mission by WHO staff to Douma today. This must be a misunderstanding," spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.

Earlier in the day, Jasarevic already noted that the organization didn't have access to Douma yet, adding that the organization continued to work with local authorities to arrange the visit of a health assessment mission to the site of alleged chemical attack as soon as possible.

“We don’t have access to Douma yet, but we are working with the relevant authorities to arrange a public health assessment inside Douma as soon as possible,” Jasarevic said earlier.

However, following Jasarevic's initial statement, an informed source told Sputnik that the delegation had entered the Syrian city of Douma, accompanied by Syrian Health Minister Nizar Yazigi.

The spokesman stressed that the WHO mission would work in Douma separately from the mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Earlier in the day, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said that the Syrian authorities had created all conditions for the normal work of the OPCW in Syria’s Douma.

READ MORE: Ex-US Envoy Explains Goals of Trump's Strike on Syria

The statement came a day after the UK delegation to the OPCW said that Russia and Syria had not yet allowed access to the OPCW's mission to Douma. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, however, refuted the allegations, saying that these were the consequences of the US airstrikes in Syria that hampered the efforts of the OPCW to probe the alleged attack in Douma.

Aftermath of attack on the Barzah scientific research center near Damascus, April 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Last Saturday, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched strikes on a number of targets in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

The attack came the same day that the OPCW mission was set to start the probe into the alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, which the West had immediately blamed on Damascus.


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