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Chemical arms experts due in Douma tomorrow, Russians say

AFP  |  The Hague 

are due to arrive in Douma tomorrow to probe an alleged poison gas attack, Russian officials said, as the US voiced fears may already have "tampered with" evidence at the site.

Following weekend missile strikes on by the US, and Britain, traded accusations with Western nations yesterday, dismissing as "a blatant lie" accusations that was hindering the investigation in Douma.

The four nations confronted each other in tense emergency talks at the (OPCW) in as inspectors prepare for a difficult, dangerous mission.

general said his nine-strong, all-volunteer team had reached Damascus, but so far "the team has not yet deployed to Douma" -- scene of an alleged chlorine and on April 7 where 40 people were said to have been killed.

Syrian and Russian officials had warned of "pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place," Uzumcu said.

Igor Kirillov, of Russia's radiological, biological and chemical protection unit, told reporters the roads still had to be de-mined and cleared and would be tested by UN security services today.

"On Wednesday (tomorrow) is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts," he added at a press conference in the in

The American to the OPCW, Ken Ward, claimed however the Russians had already visited the site and "may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW fact-finding mission".

The Kremlin dismissed the claims.

"I can guarantee that has not tampered with the site," Russian told the And the Russian to the Netherlands, Alexander Shulgin, said it was a "blatant lie" that was hampering the investigation.

Instead he said it was the United States, and Britain who were "standing in the way" of the investigation by ordering air strikes "in the blink of an eye" before the OPCW team had had a chance to do their work.

The missiles that US, French and British warships fired on on Saturday constituted the biggest Western attack against the regime in the seven-year war to topple Syrian

The targeted sites were largely empty, and were all said to be facilities for or production.

Both British and French faced anger yesterday from their lawmakers for conducting the air strikes with the

Despite polls showing scant support for the move, May said it had been her "responsibility as to make these decisions," while Macron also defended his move as part of his constitutional powers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 06:25 IST