The Hague, Apr 12 (AFP) The global chemical weapons watchdog will meet Monday to discuss an alleged poison gas attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma, officials and sources said.

The chairman of the executive council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has “requested a meeting… be convened to discuss alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic,” a statement said on its website late yesterday.

Diplomatic sources confirmed to AFP that the discussions would focus on Douma — the target of Saturday’s alleged attack — in which rescue workers said more than 40 people were killed.

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu voiced his “grave concern” at the allegations earlier this week, and the body later confirmed that it was deploying a fact-finding mission to the town.

The Russian embassy in the Netherlands also tweeted about Monday’s meeting.

“It is high time to drop militaristic speeches we hear from some capitals and to return to diplomatic settlement of the situation,” it added in a tweet.

Russia has vowed to ensure the team’s “security and safety” and the Russian embassy in London also tweeted a picture of an armoured vehicle which they said was “Russian military police” entering Douma today.

“They will secure order and aid distribution, ready to ensure work of OPCW mission,” the tweet added.

Based in The Hague, the OPCW was set up in 1993 to help rid the world of chemical weapons. It has 192 member states, covering some 98 per cent of the world’s population. (AFP) SMJ SMJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.