Russia has put forward an initiative to discuss a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons about the April 2018 incident in Syria’s Douma, a spokesman for the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations said on Monday.
“Russia has put forward an initiative to convoke an Arria-Formula meeting of the UN Security Council members to discuss the situation surrounding the OPCW report on the April 7, 2018 incident in the city of Douma (Syrian Arab Republic),” he said. “The meeting will focus on the investigation into this incident by the OPCW fact-finding mission. The session is scheduled for the afternoon of January 20,” Fyodor Strzhizhovsky said.
Douma chemical incident
A number of non-governmental organizations, including the White Helmets, alleged that chemical weapons were used in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018. According to a statement on the organization’s website, chlorine bombs had been dropped on the city, which caused dozens of fatalities. Many other civilians were rumored to have been taken to hospital. Representatives of the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria investigated Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.
On April 14, 2018, the US, the UK and France delivered massive missile strikes at targets in Syria without the UN Security Council’s mandate. The scientific and research center in Damascus, the Syrian Republican Guard headquarters, an air defense base, a few military airfields and army warehouses came under attack. According to the Russian Defense Ministry information, Syria managed to shoot down 71 cruise missiles out of 103 that were launched on April 14 to hit targets in Syria. Washington, London and Paris claimed the strikes had come as a response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma.
The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) issued a 100-page final report on March 1, concluding that chlorine was used during the attack in Syria’s Douma on April 7, 2018. The report was submitted to the United Nations Security Council through the UN secretary general and specifically states that the cylinders containing chemicals that were found at the incident site were airdropped.
However, a new report signed by OPCW expert Ian Henderson emerged on the Internet in May, stating that both cylinders were likely to be placed at the incident site rather than airdropped. These conclusions support Russia and Syria’s version that the incident was staged, however, they were not included in the final report of the organization.