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Chemical inspectors find no evidence of nerve agent use at Douma

BRITAIN, France and the US’s case for missile strikes against Syria appears to have crumbled after chemical inspectors found no evidence that nerve agents had been used in Douma.

The long-awaited report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which was released late on Friday instead found traces of chlorine that it said was possibly used in the area.

The trio launched a deadly missile strike after they claimed the Syrian government was responsible for an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma in which dozens were said to have been killed on April 7.

However they were criticised for bombing Syria without waiting for clear evidence and refusing offers by the government and its Russian allies to allow inspectors to conduct tests in the area.

The chemical weapons watchdog was delayed in accessing the site as a result of the missile attack, however a group entered Douma, interviewed witnesses and collected samples a week later.

It examined two gas cylinders found at the site which tested positive for chlorine but did not find evidence of nerve agents, including sarin.

Following the initial report of its fact-finding mission the OPCW said it was too early to come to any conclusions.

"Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing. The fact-finding mission team will continue its work to draw final conclusions," it said.

The Syrian government criticised the new powers granted to the  weapons inspectors last week which now allow it to apportion blame for chemical attacks blaming it on "the methods of blackmail and threat used by Western countries."

Syria has continually denied using chemical weapons, claiming the attack in Douma was “staged” by the White Helmets and those committed to regime change.

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