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Chemical inspectors enter Syria's Douma amid concerns for probe
18 April 2018, 12:53 | Simon Arnold
Alex Wong Getty Images
"The team has not yet deployed to Douma", Uzumcu told an executive council meeting of the OPCW in The Hague on Monday.
Global investigators on Tuesday entered a Syrian town hit by an alleged chemical attack, after days of delay and warnings by Western powers that crucial evidence had likely been removed.
Syria and its ally Russia deny any chemical attack took place, and Russian officials have accused Britain of staging a "fake" chemical attack. Hours after the alleged chemical attack, the rebel faction that controlled the town, the Army of Islam, relented and was evacuated from the area along with thousands of residents.
Worldwide inspectors from the global chemical weapons watchdog entered the Syrian city of Douma on Tuesday, where a suspected chemical attack killed at least 40 people earlier this month, even as the US and France voiced fears that the site may have been tampered with.
Meanwhile, there is confusion over reported airstrikes in Syria after Syrian state TV said a "false alarm" set off the country's air defences early on Tuesday morning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the military strikes violated the U.N. Charter and that if they continue, "it will inevitably entail chaos in worldwide relations", according to a Kremlin statement on Sunday. Syria and its main allies Iran and Russian Federation blamed Israel for that attack.
The Syrian government regained full control of Douma on Saturday, following a surrender deal with the rebels who had controlled the town just east of Damascus.
Syrian media, Russian and Syrian officials have sought to downplay the impact of the joint airstrikes, saying the Syrian air defenses have intercepted most of the missiles.
The US, UK and Francelaunched airstrikes against Bashar al Assad's government on Saturday - targeting a chemical weapons facility - in retaliation for what they say was a poison gas attack which killed 70 people. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said the mission was not allowed in because it lacked approval from the United Nation's Department for Safety and Security. A odd smell lingered, nine days after the attack. After he was revived, he returned to the shelter and found his wife and daughters dead, with foam coming from their mouths.
The U.S. State Department had accused Russian Federation of trying to block the inspectors from investigating the deadly attack in Douma "by making it more complicated" for the specialists to do their work. Moscow said they didn't find any evidence of a chemical attack and rejected Western claims that Russian Federation was deliberately stalling the OPCW inspection to destroy all evidence of the attack.
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Jennifer Layden, the chief medical officer of the Illinois Department of Public Health , told CBS Chicago in March. Friday's updated number includes two deaths and is up from 56 cases reported Monday.