On April 17, unknown gunmen attacked a group of UN experts who were in the Duma district to monitor the situation there, according to Major General Yuri Yevtushenko, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria.
Maj. Gen. Yevtushenko added that one Syrian security officer had been injured in the incident and denied all the reports that talked about Russian causalities.
“A gunfight broke out between Syrian security agencies and unidentified persons at the outer perimeter safeguarding the motor convoy … In the exchange of fire, a Syrian security officer sustained a light wound. Russian servicemen were not present at the site of the incident,” Maj. Gen. Yevtushenko told reporters on April 18, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed in an official statement, released on April 18, that experts of the UN Department of Safety & Security (UNDSS) came under fire while they were conducting a reconnaissance mission in one of the sites of the alleged chemical attack in Duma.
The OPCW didn’t say when its fact finding mission will start its work in Duma. However, the organization stressed in its statement that it will work with the Damascus government, Russia and the local council in Duma to review the security situation in the district.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the UNDSS experts yet. Syrian pro-government activists believe cells of Jaysh al-Islam could be behind the attack which was an attempt to obstacle the OPCW investigation in Duma.