April 18, 2018 / 12:38 PM / a year ago

Chemical weapons watchdog not sure when inspectors can go to Douma, Syria

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - It is not clear when an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons fact-finding mission will be able to travel safely to Douma, Syria, the British ambassador to the body said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters that OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü had said the departure of a team of inspectors was delayed after an incident in which an advance U.N. security detail performing reconnaissance in Douma was forced to withdraw after being fired upon.

Earlier, a diplomatic source told Reuters that Uzumcu had said when U.N. security forces arrived at the city on Tuesday, a large crowd gathered. When they went to look at one potential site, they were subjected to gunfire and light shelling and withdrew.

The fact-finding mission will be unable to depart until it is given a green light for departure by the U.N. security detail, the source said.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Writing by Toby Sterling; Editing by Catherine Evans

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