Just miles from alleged chemical attack, life goes on in Damascus

DAMASCUS -- The Russian Defense Ministry accused Britain of faking an attack in Douma over the weekend to provoke a military response. The accusation came as Russian soldiers, Syria's strongest battlefield ally, congratulated themselves Friday on their continued wins against the rebels in Douma.

But Syria admitted it still doesn't control the site of the alleged chemical attack, which poses a big problem for chemical weapons inspectors who are supposed to begin their work on Saturday.

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Ayman Sousan, told CBS News his government will do whatever it can to help.

Syria

This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April. 8, 2018.

AP

"The Russians are in close communication with some of the rebel group," he said.

But when we asked if investigators would get access to victims' bodies, he denied any attack took place.

"We think there are no dead bodies," he said. "Because there has not been a chemical attack."

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Life in Damascus

CBS News

Just ten miles away, in government-controlled Damascus, it's a different world. Residents shrugged off the possibility of being a target. At an amusement park, one mom echoed many who believe there's simply no basis for military action.

"We love Bashar al-Assad," she said. "He protected us and he built Syria."

When we told her Assad used chemical weapons, she replied, "No. We don't believe that."