DAMASCUS-– The fact-finding mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) entered Damascus’ eastern Douma district on Saturday to look into allegations of chemical weapons use, marking the first visit since the team arrived in Damascus last week.
The OPCW said in a statement that its experts visited one of the sites in Douma to collect samples for analysis in connection with the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma on April 7.
The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider steps including another possible visit to Douma, according to the statement.
It added that the collected samples will be transported to the OPCW laboratories in Rijswijk, Netherlands for analysis.
This comes as the UN security team entered Douma on Friday to assess the security situation before the visit of the OPCW experts after a previous attempt that ended with the security team returning to Damascus after coming under small arms fire.
The arrival of the OPCW team came after the Syrian government invited the OPCW to investigate the April 7 incident, in which the rebels and activists accused the Syrian forces of using chlorine gas in an attack on Douma.
At the time, the Syrian government denied the allegations and said the rebels and their foreign backers were fabricating events to attract foreign military action.
On April 14, the United States, France and Britain launched a series of missile strikes on Syrian positions over the allegations, and the OPCW team arrived on the same day after the strikes were over.