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OPCW Investigators Delay Douma Visit Following Reports Of Gunfire

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Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have delayed their planned visit to Douma, Syria - the site of an alleged gas attack that caused a flareup of tensions between Syria and its western antagonists - after a UN Security Team sent to evaluate the area was confronted by a crowd of violent protesters demanding food and aid.

After the brief confrontation, gunfire ensued, and the inspectors declared that the town was not yet safe to visit, according to RT.

An anonymous source told RT that the advance team had "encountered a security issue" including gunfire, which led to the delay. No further details were disclosed.

Douma

The town was recently cleared of terrorists by the Syrian Army, so it's likely that residents who are desperate for food and other assistance were responsible for the gunfire.

In what was a milestone victory, the Syrian Army declared over the weekend that the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the region to which Douma belongs, had been liberated from rebel groups as the last militants fled the area on Saturday.

"All the terrorists have left Douma city, their last bastion in eastern Ghouta," the army statement said.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN said on Tuesday that the fact-finding mission would begin its work in Douma on Wednesday if the UN security team deemed the situation there safe.

The OPCW team arrived in Damascus over the weekend, but repeated delays of their inspection have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between Russia, the primary backer of the Syrian regime, and the US. Russia and Syria have denied tampering with the investigation and also denied Western accusations that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the gassing of innocent civilians.

Russia's Defense Ministry says it has found proof that the chemical attacks were staged - a fact that has been confirmed by famed war reporter Robert Fisk.

In response to the purported gassing, a US-led coalition launched more than 100 missiles late Friday at what they described as key targets meant to cripple Syria's chemical weapons program.

Meanwhile, a UN source told Reuters that the team probably wouldn't make it to Douma on Wednesday.

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