The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has deployed a team of investigators to Syria – the Fact-Finding Mission – following the attack in Douma in eastern Ghouta on April 7 which killed several dozen people.
The team is tasked with establishing if a chemical attack did take place and the nature of the chemical agent used. It uses highly technical and rigorous scientific methods which we have welcomed on many occasions. The mission is not tasked with identifying the perpetrators of this attack; only the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was able to do that, but its mandate has not been renewed due to Russia’s opposition at the UN Security Council.
To date, Russia and Syria are still refusing to allow the investigators access to the site of the attack, even though the investigators arrived in Syria on April 14. It is very likely that the evidence and key elements will disappear from the site, which, furthermore, is entirely controlled by the Russian and Syrian armies.
Syria must finally provide complete, immediate and unrestricted access in response to all OPCW requests, whether with respect to the sites to be visited, persons to be interviewed or documents to be consulted.