08:15 GMT +317 February 2019
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    A child runs along a street in front of clouds of smoke billowing following a reported air strike on Douma, the main town of Syria's rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta

    NATO Calls on Syria to Provide Observers' Access to Alleged Chemical Attack Site

    © AFP 2018 / Hasan Mohamed
    Middle East
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    Damascus has already expressed readiness to grant access and to ensure the security of OPCW experts to the site of an alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma.

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg strongly condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying that "those responsible must be held accountable".

    The NATO chief went on urging Damascus "to allow full and unimpeded access to international medical assistance and international monitoring."

    As Stoltenberg specified, NATO states are currently negotiating what response should follow the alleged chemical attack. 

    Alleged Chemical Attack in Syrian Douma

    Unverified reports on chemical incident appeared on April 7, when Syrian opposition media outlets claimed that the country's government forces had used chemical weapons against civilians in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

    Then unverified footage of the consequences of the alleged chemical weapons attack was revealed by the White Helmets, an organization that claims to be made up of humanitarian workers and has been repeatedly blamed for creating fake propaganda against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They also claimed that up to 70 people had died of "widespread suffocation."

    READ MORE: Macron Claims to Have Proof of Chemical Weapons Use by Syrian Government

    The US blamed Damascus for organizing the attack, whereas the Syrian government denies the allegations, arguing that the entire incident was staged. Syrian officials cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said the allegations were merely a provocation by the terrorist group Jaish al-Islam and other militants to prevent the advance of the Syrian government's army.

    One month before the incident, the Russian Ministry of Defense warned that it had reliable information about a false flag chemical attack being prepared by US military instructors.

    READ MORE: Threats to Use Force Against Syria Is Violation of UN Charter — Moscow