There were also reports on Wednesday of fighters from the Jaish Al Islam rebel faction, known as the 'Army of Islam, ' continuing to hand over their heavy and intermediate weapons in the Damascus suburb of Dumayr ahead of their departure to the northern town of Jarabulus. He said government officials met with the delegation several times to discuss cooperation.
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is "futile" since Washington and its allies already identified who the "culprits" are, referencing the US-led attack on Syria. The attack on Syria carried out by the US-led coalition is not only aimed at discrediting Damascus but is also an attempt to deal a blow to the peace process, Head of Russia's Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said at a meeting of the upper house of parliament on Wednesday.
Instead, Syrian authorities offered them 22 people to interview as witnesses, he said, adding that he hoped "all necessary arrangements will be made.to allow the team to deploy to Douma as soon as possible".
The team's entry into Douma came 10 days after the alleged attack, raising concerns that any evidence the inspectors find could be useless.
The suspected April 7 gas attack on Douma reportedly left more than 40 people dead and was blamed by Western powers on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the strikes aimed to defend "the honour of the global community" in the face of Syria's suspected violation of the UN Chemical Weapons Convention.
What is the difference between Russian jets bombing Eastern Ghouta and Saturday's joint strike bombing military positions?
The Russians claimed the April 7 incident in Douma was fabricated.
"At present, we do not know when the FFM [fact-finding mission] team can be deployed to Douma", OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü says in the statement.
The OPCW team dispatched to Syria to investigate does not have a mandate to assign blame.
Medical charities operating in opposition-held parts of Syria have dismissed those statements as propaganda, given under duress now that government forces control the town. The Russian side included Russia's special presidential envoy on a Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.
There was no comment from the OPCW or the United Nations on Wednesday.
"Before the air strikes, we noted the readiness of the Syrian government to participate in the Geneva negotiations", Nebenzia said. In contrast, a year after Mr. Trump responded to an apparent chemical weapons attack with a missile attack, apparently Syria did it again.
The United States has raised concerns that Russian Federation might have tampered with evidence on the scene - a charge Russian Federation vehemently denies - and it remains to be seen what investigators will find and what they'll have access to.
Negotiations on the draft resolution are set to begin on Monday, but diplomats said it remained unclear when the council would vote on the proposal.