People stand in front of damaged buildings, in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria. (Source: PTI)

Chemical-Weapons Inspectors Collect Samples at Syria Attack Site

(Bloomberg) -- Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons visited one of the sites of a suspected gas attack in Douma, Syria, on Saturday to collect samples.

The samples will be transported to Rijswijk in the Netherlands before being sent for analysis to the group’s designated laboratories, The Hague-based OPCW said in an emailed statement. “Based on the analysis of the sample results, as well other information and materials collected by the team, the fact-finding mission will compile their report for submission to the states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention for their consideration.”

The organization is investigating allegations that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in an April 7 attack on Douma, which sparked U.S. President Donald Trump to order airstrikes supported by the U.K. and France. The retaliation has intensified a standoff with Russia, which is fighting alongside Assad’s army with Iran.

“The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps, including another possible visit to Douma,” according to the statement. There were earlier concerns that inspectors wouldn’t be able to enter the area in southwest Syria after a reconnaissance team came under fire.

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