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Civilians in Douma after the Syrian army delcared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta. Civilians in Douma after the Syrian army delcared that all anti-regime forces have left Eastern Ghouta.  (AFP or licensors)

Inspectors set to enter Douma

Pope Francis and other religious leaders across the faith spectrum have appealed for a halt to violence in Syria after a suspected chemical attack by Syrian forces against the rebel-held town of Douma triggered a tripartite military response by the US, the UK and France.

By Nathan Morley

The U.S. State Department insists that Russia has tried to block an international investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Syria.

The investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria on Saturday, but so far have not been able to begin their work in Douma.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister said the mission was not allowed in because the United Nation’s Department for Safety and Security had not given its approval.

But U.N. officials in New York rejected the claim.

On Monday, Russia denied interfering with evidence at the site of the suspected chemical weapons attack.

The US, Britain and France claim Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army was behind the attack, a charge which Syria and Russia deny.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report
17 April 2018, 16:02