Russia rejects 'unfounded' reports of Syria using chemicals
Iran Press TV
Tue Mar 6, 2018 10:49AM
Russia has rejected allegations that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, stressing that only an international body can rule on the issue based on an "impartial" probe.
"The provocations are continuing that spawn such insinuations and unfounded accusations against the Syrian leadership," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
Last week, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is sympathetic to the militants operating against the Damascus government, claimed a suspected chlorine attack had taken place in the militant-held al-Shifuniyah village of the Eastern Ghouta region on February 25.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the alleged chemical attack as "bogus stories in the media."
Prior to the Observatory's report, the Russian Defense Ministry had warned that militant groups in Eastern Ghouta were preparing a false flag attack in a bid to blame the Damascus government for using chemical weapons against civilians.
On Monday, The Washington Post quoted US officials as saying that the government was considering new military action against the Syrian government in response to reports of suspected chemical weapons use.
The United Nations Human Rights Council also ordered investigators to examine what it called "the alleged use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta."
Peskov said, "In Syria the chemical weapons were destroyed. That was verified not only by the Russian side but by the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons)."
He further noted that for Russia, such accusations against the Syrian government need to be based on "the findings of an international commission, an international working group, only the result of an impartial investigation."
"In the absence of such an investigation, all accusations are nothing but insinuations," the Kremlin spokesman added.
Syria turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
On April 7, the US launched a missile attack against Shayrat Airbase in Syria's Homs Province. Washington claimed that the air field targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the April 4, 2017, purported chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib Province.
Damascus denied the accusation of being behind the alleged gas attack and described it as a "fabrication" to justify the subsequent US missile strike.
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