Damning find at Syrian attack site

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Rice was asked about the military strike on Friday conducted by the United States, the U.K, and France following a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma. Britain's ambassador to the OPCW Peter Wilson said it was now unclear when the inspectors would be able to reach it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Syrian and Russian officials of blocking access to the site of the attack in an attempt to cover up what happened.

Hours after the alleged chemical attack, the rebel faction that controlled the town, the Army of Islam, relented and was evacuated along with thousands of residents.

More than 100 missiles were launched from submarines, warships and bombers in the attack, which Vice President Mike Pence claimed "degraded and crippled chemical weapons capabilities of Syria".

France said on Tuesday it was very likely that evidence was disappearing from the location of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and it called for worldwide inspectors be given full and quick access to the site.

Moscow has "irrefutable proof" that the alleged chemical incident in Syria's Douma was a "false-flag attack", orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said.

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The US ambassador to the OPCW, Ken Ward, had claimed Monday that the site and "may have tampered with it".

The Syrian "White Helmets" rescue organization, which operates largely in rebel-held areas, said on Wednesday that it had pinpointed for worldwide inspectors the places where the victims of the chemical attack are buried, its head Raed Saleh said on Wednesday.

Even so, the Syrian Government has been officially blamed for three previous chemical attacks, most recently at Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017, where around 90 people died from sarin or chlorine gas poisoning.

The U.S. and France say they have evidence that poison gas was used in the April 7 attack in Douma, killing at least 40 people, and that Syrian President Bashar Assad's military was behind it.

In response, the opposition's Syrian Civil Defense, whose first responders were operating in Douma on the night of the alleged attack, gave the chemical weapons watchdog the locations of victims' graves so it could salvage evidence, the group's chief, Raed Saleh, told the AP.

The OPCW said Wednesday that it was not sure when its team could be deployed to Douma, considering the hostile security conditions the United Nations team experienced. The town has been besieged as the government has been fighting to oust rebels from the greater eastern Ghouta region, just outside the capital of Damascus.

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It comes after the US, UK and French launched strikes on three sites linked to Syria's chemical weapons programme. Syria also said the strikes failed to impact the targets in Homs, but the images show extensive damage.

The inspectors arrived in Damascus on the day of the Western strikes but had not been allowed to enter Douma. United Nations officials in NY disputed the claim.

But French President Emmanual Macron defended the military action in an impassioned and at times angry speech to the European parliament.

Russian military police were ready to help protect the OPCW experts on their visit to Douma, said Maj.

"Three countries have intervened, and let me be quite frank, quite honest - this is for the honour of the global community", he said in the French city of Strasbourg. "As with any crime scene, it is crucial to get there as soon as possible", said Olivier Lepick, a fellow at the Paris-based Foundation for Scientific Research.

Most people-58 percent-approved of the action, while 19 percent said they had no opinion on the matter.

The missiles targeted Shayrat air base, it said - but did not say who fired the missiles.

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