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OPCW: We do not know when FFM will be deployed in Douma

BRUSSELS, The Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu said on Wednesday that he does not know when the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team can be deployed to Douma, Syria, due to uncertain security situation.

In a statement to the OPCW executive committee at the Hague, he said that last Monday he advised the Council on the work being undertaken by the FFM team that has been deployed to Damascus to establish the facts on the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma on 7 April.

On April 16, they received confirmation from the National Authority of Syria that under agreements reached to allow the evacuation of the population in Ghouta, the Syrian military were unable to enter Douma.

The security for the sites where the FFM plans to deploy was under the control of the Russian Military Police, he said.

The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) has made the necessary arrangements with the Syrian authorities to escort the team to a certain point and then for the escort to be taken over by the Russian Military Police.

However, the UNDSS preferred to first conduct a reconnaissance visit to the sites, which took place yesterday. FFM team members did not participate in this visit.

On arrival at Site 1, a large crowd gathered and the advice provided by the UNDSS was that the reconnaissance team should withdraw. At Site 2, the team came under small arms fire and an explosive was detonated. The reconnaissance team returned to Damascus.

The UNDSS will continue to work with the Syrian National Authority, the local Councils in Douma, and the Russian Military Police to review the security situation.

“At present, we do not know when the FFM team can be deployed to Douma. Of course, I shall only consider such deployment following approval by the UNDSS, and provided that our team can have unhindered access to the sites,” he added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency