Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria
THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
We draw attention to the mass filling of information space with different materials, the purpose of which is to impose responsibility for the alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus on the Syrian officials, before the results of the UN investigation are presented. Thus, "the ground is prepared" for forceful action against Syria. In view of this, we deem it possible to share the main conclusions of the Russian analysis of the samples taken in the place of the incident using military poisonous substances in the Aleppo suburb – Khan al-Asal.
We remind the reader of the tragedy of the 19 March, which resulted in the death of 26 civil persons and military persons of the Syrian army, whilst another 86 persons received injuries of different severity. The results of the analysis of the samples, conducted at the request of the Syrian authorities by the Russian laboratory, certified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, were transferred to the UN Secretary-General on the 9 July in connection with the call by the Syrian authorities to the latter to conduct an independent investigation of this episode. The main conclusions of the Russian professionals consist in:
- the warfare used was not regular Syrian army ammunition but was an artisan-type similar (in type and parameters) to the unguided rocket projectiles produced in the north of Syria by the so-called "Bashair An-Nasr" gang;
- hexogen was used as an explosive, which is not part of the regular Syrian army ammunition;
- shell and soil samples contained nerve agents – sarin gas and diisopropylfluorophosphate – not synthesized in an industrial environment, which was used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.
We highlight that the Russian report is extremely specific. It is a scientific and technical document containing about 100 pages with many tables and diagrams of spectral analysis of the samples. We expect that it will significantly assist in the investigation into this incident by the UN. Unfortunately, it has in fact not started yet.
The attention of those, who always consciously intend to impose all the responsibility for events on the official authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic, is now fully switched to the events in Eastern Ghouta. However, here we have "flawed selectivity" again. These are evident attempts, in particular, to forget the data about cases (which were presented to the UN by officials from Damascus), when Syrian army personnel was affected by poisonous weapons on the 22, 24 and 25 August, when they found materials, equipment and containers with traces of sarin gas in the suburbs of the Syrian capital city. As is known, the affected military persons were examined by members of the UN fact-finding mission headed by Ake Sellstrom. It is evident that any objective investigation into the incident of the 21 August in Eastern Ghouta cannot be carried out without taking into account these circumstances.
In light of the foregoing, we welcome the statement of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Ake Sellstrom's group intends to return to Syria at the earliest to continue their work, including in the Khan al-Asal region.
4 September 2013
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