Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have arrived in Douma to make their assessment of Syria's alleged chemical weapons strike. Critics claim the delay in providing access to the OPCW has given Syria time to clear up traces of any attack. Experts say an inspection relies on the absence of interference.
"You are trying to take environmental samples from the area where thre was an impact of a chemical weapon, so a sample of rubble... depending where it actually happened," says Dr Ralf Trapp, Consultant on Chemical and Biological Weapons, arms control and disarmament. "You also trying to find weapons samples, some residues from the weapons themselves, investigate those and then you can take biological samples from victims, and also if there are dead bodies, and there were some reportedly here, you can take autopsy samples."
Russia has reacted angrily to French suggestions it may have delayed the arrival of the inspection team, saying it is another example of Western bad faith.
"We lose, basically, the last remnants of trust to our Western friends who prefer to operate on the basis of very weird logic," Russian Foreign Minister SERGEI LAVROV. "The proof is in the punishment. They punish first in Douma in Syria and then they wait for the inspectors of OPCW to visit the place and to inspect."
Russia says that the area had to be secured before the inspectors could access the site - and if there are any complaints they should come directly from the OPCW and not Frances