Experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons can not enter the Syrian town of Douma, as they have no consent from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has announced today. "The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus".
The punitive attacks early on Saturday were launched before a fact-finding team from the OPCW was able to enter Douma and begin its fieldwork.
The OPCW is investigating reports that government forces gassed sites in Douma on April 7, when the town was still held by rebels and home to tens of thousands of people - residents and others who were displaced by fighting elsewhere. He said the inspectors can not access the site because it needs permission from United Nations security experts.
The purported chemical incident in Douma allegedly took place on April 7.
"The speed with which we acted was essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations", she said.
The OPCW would not reveal to CNN its team's whereabouts, saying it was unable to share operational details to "to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process and its results", as well as for security reasons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also firmly denied accusations from the United States that there has been any interference with evidence at the site of the suspected Syrian chemical attack which led to Saturday's strikes.
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"Every day matters", he told CNN recently.
The sources said the UN-affiliated investigators were in the area but had not yet been able to access the sites they meant to inspect.
"This raises serious questions about the ability of the (team) to do its job", Ward said.
The nighttime assault on Syria was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russian Federation, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow it was coming.
"I can guarantee that Russian Federation has not tampered with the site", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the BBC.
The White house, which is apparently looking for a pretext to justify the missile attack, claims that Moscow has failed to abide by a 2013 promise to ensure that Syria gets rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles.
Meanwhile, London has already accused Russian Federation and Syria in not allowing the experts leave. Information on the attack site is murky, and different sides are giving conflicting details and accusing one another of cooking up conspiracy theories.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Syrian air defense units were scrambled to thwart the aerial invasion, intercepting 71 out of 105 cruise missiles.