An evidence gathering mission held in Douma, Syria by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was completed this week. This was only the first part of their investigation but was still a big step in discovering if chemical weapons were used there or not. The OPCW announced that at the end of this week the collected samples were deposited at OPCW’s laboratory at an unnamed location, from there the testing materials will be sent out for analysis. The OPCW released a statement that reads,
The analysis of the samples may take at least three to four weeks. At this time, it is not possible to give a time frame for when the Douma report will be issued.”
The city of Douma was reportedly attacked on April 7th with chemical weapons by the Syrian regime run by President Bashar al-Assad attempted to target rebel forces who at the time occupied the city. The United Nations Security Council neglected to reach an agreement regarding launching an investigation into the alleged attack. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. led its coalition based allies in coordinated strikes against Syrian military installations that were supposedly responsible for the production of chemical weapons, specifically the ones used in the Douma attack.
The Syria Civil Defense (SCD) or “White Helmets”, a group that provides emergency first responder relief efforts and medical aid in war-torn areas of Syria, have been accused of staging the chemical attack by the Syrian government. SCD leader Raed Saleh told local media that,
We were not formally told of any halt to funding, but what we were informed of was a freeze to some of the Middle Eastern projects by American organizations, in order to review their feasibility. Among them are projects linked to stabilization in Syria, which includes part of the White Helmets’ work. This happens every year but this year, no one can predict President Trump’s decisions.”
Saleh said this in reference to President Donald Trump’s order to halt $200 million in Syrian aid funds. Saleh admitted the SCD also received large donation from the United Kingdom and had signed contracts with Qatari and Turkish based organizations as well.
Featured image courtesy of Elizabeth Arrott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons