US Congressman Surprises CNN by Backing Moscow's Position on Idlib Attack

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In an interview with CNN, US Congressman Thomas Massie said he doubted that Syrian President Bashar Assad was involved in a chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Syrians display national flags and banners with photos of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a pro-government event in Damascus, Syria. (File) - Sputnik International
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"Frankly, I don't think Assad would have done that," Massie said, catching CNN's TV presenter Kate Bolduan by surprise.

Astonished by his statement, Bolduan asked the lawmaker whether he believes the Russians and Bashar al-Assad more than his colleagues in the United States.

In response, Massey doubted that a chemical attack on his own people would serve the interests of the Syrian president.
From the congressman's point of view, the release of gas into the atmosphere could have happened unintentionally as a result of an airstrike on a weapons depot.

"You've got a war going on over there," Massie said. "Supposedly that airstrike was on an ammo dump, and so I don't know if it was released because there was gas stored in the ammo dump or not — that's plausible."

The Syrian opposition claimed Tuesday that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had used a chemical gas on people in the northwestern province, killing nearly 80 and injuring 200. Assad argued that his government has no chemical weapons after having agreed to have them destroyed in 2013. He also ruled out having used chemicals against his own people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel awaits the arrival of the new European Parliament President Antonio Tajani at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 24, 2017. - Sputnik International
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In 2013, the Syrian authorities agreed to transfer its stockpiled chemical weapons to international control for their subsequent destruction, so as to prevent them from falling into the hands of militants operating in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the incident needed to be cleared up before making any accusations.
The Russian Defense Ministry said early Wednesday that there was an airstrike carried out by Syrian aircraft, which struck a terrorist warehouse housing chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq.

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