Inspectors from the OPCW chemical watchdog will begin their investigation on April 15 at the site of an alleged chemical attack near Damascus, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a senior official.
“The fact-funding team arrived in Damascus on Saturday and is due to go to Douma on Sunday,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Soussan told AFP.
A delegation of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, is tasked with investigating an April 7 attack on Douma, just east of Damascus.
Western powers say chemical substances, most likely chlorine and sarin, were used in the attack and killed at least 40 civilians.
The alleged attack, which Damascus and its Russian ally have denied ever happened, prompted an unprecedented wave of missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain on April 14.
Soussan reiterated a pledge by the Syrian government that the chemical experts would be allow to investigate unimpeded.
“We will ensure they can work professionally, objectively, impartially and free of any pressure,” he said.
Britain to ‘study options’
Britain will study the “options” with its allies if President Bashar al-Assad again uses chemical weapons against his people in Syria, but as yet there is nothing planned, foreign minister Boris Johnson said on April 15.
Johnson backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to join the United States and France to strike chemical weapons
facilities in Syria on Saturday, saying it was the right thing to do to deter the further use of chemical weapons.
“There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far thank heavens the Assad regime have not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.