April 10, 2018 / 1:08 PM / 4 months ago

Syria invites OPCW to investigate alleged chemical attack in Douma

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government has invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to send a team to investigate allegations of a chemical attack in the eastern Ghouta town of Douma, state media reported on Tuesday.

The suspected chemical weapons attack late on Saturday killed at least 60 people, with more than 1,000 injured at several sites in Douma, a town near the capital, Damascus, according to the Union of Medical Care Organizations.

The Syrian medical aid group is partly funded by Western governments and operates in opposition areas.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack.

“Syria is keen on cooperating with the OPCW to uncover the truth behind the allegations that some western sides have been advertising to justify their aggressive intentions,” state news agency SANA said, quoting an official source in the Foreign Ministry.

On Monday, Russia and Syria both offered during the U.N. Security Council meeting to take OPCW investigators to Douma. In Tuesday’s statement, the government said it was ready to offer all assistance needed for the mission to fulfil its task.

It also called on the mission to operate “in a full transparent manner and to rely on solid and credible evidence,” the statement cited by state media added.

(This story has been refiled to clarify description of aid organisation in second paragraph.)

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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