12:41 GMT +316 November 2018
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    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

    OPCW Calls For Confidentiality in Alleged Douma Attack Probe - Official

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is unable to comment on the possible delay in deploying chemical weapons experts to Syria’s Duma over reports of gunfire because of the organization’s policy, the OPCW’s public affairs service told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "We are unable to share operational details about this deployment. This policy exists to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process and its results as well as to ensure the safety and security of OPCW experts and personnel involved. All parties are asked to respect the confidentiality parameters required for a rigorous and unimpeded investigation," the press service said.

    Media reported earlier in the day that OPCW experts had to postpone their visit to Douma, planned within the framework of the investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack in the area after the UN security team reported that there had been gunfire at the site.

    The day before, 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 experts in Syria’s Douma, their safety was being ensured.

    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.

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

    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.

    Related:

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    Modern Equipment for Mortar Shell and Missile Production Found in Douma (VIDEO)
    Moscow Slams Reports Russia Stopping OPCW from Entering Douma as ‘Unscrupulous’
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    probe, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Douma, Syria
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