Syria TV Questions Chemical Attack Allegations - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Syria TV Questions Chemical Attack Allegations

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Syrian state TV is airing interviews with nearly a dozen doctors and medics who say they found no trace of poisonous gas in the town of Douma, where opposition activists and first responders say a chemical attack by government forces killed more than 40 people.

The suspected attack on April 7 prompted the U.S., Britain and France to launch a wave of missile strikes a week later targeting what they said was the Syrian government's chemical weapons program. Syria's government has denied ever using such weapons.

U.S. and French officials say they have evidence the government carried out a chemical attack, but have not made it public.

The program ran late Sunday and was posted on the Facebook page of Al-Ikhbariya TV. The individuals interviewed say they were in Douma on April 7, when the alleged attack took place.

One medic says he heard someone scream "chemical!" but saw no patients with symptoms. Others said dust seeps into underground shelters, causing choking and other symptoms associated with chemical attacks.

The Syrian government took control of Douma after the alleged chemical attack and the surrender of rebel forces. It has since deployed its security forces in the town.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has defended the weekend's airstrikes in Syria, saying the international community had to uphold the international ban on the use of chemical weapons.

Stoltenberg spoke at a joint news conference with Turkey's foreign minister on Monday, after airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain that hit Syria.

He says Russia had "again and again" prevented an independent investigation by the U.N. and that this left "NATO allies no other alternative than to act the way they acted."

He says the Western alliance "cannot be silent where chemical weapons are used" and that "there was more than enough reason to act and not to act would be to erode the ban on chemical weapons."

The NATO chief is in Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials.

And a senior Russian diplomat says the mission from the international chemical weapons watchdog cannot access the site of an alleged chemical attack near Damascus without an appropriate U.N. permit.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was responding to questions on Monday on whether the team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been blocked from going into Douma, the town where the attack allegedly happened.

Ryabkov says the mission wasn't allowed in because it hadn't secured the approval of the U.N. Department for Safety and Security.

His remarks indicate what could be an attempt to bog down the OPCW team. Both Russia and the Syrian government have welcomed the OPCW visit.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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