MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces supported by the United States blamed the Syrian government for an alleged chemical weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib province. Reacting to the incident, Washington, which had not presented any proof of the chemical weapons use by Damascus, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Syrian governmental military airfield in Ash Sha'irat on April 6.
Damascus has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident and said that the Syrian government doesn't possess chemical weapons as the full destruction of Damascus' chemical weapons stockpile had been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in January 2016.
"The OPCW FFM presented a not very high-quality report, on the results of almost three months of work, unequivocally confirming the use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun," Mikhail Uliyanov said Thursday.
Uliyanov noted that a Syrian national investigation reached the same conclusion, and added that "the baton is now with the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism [JIM], which has a mandate to identify perpetrators based on the results of its own research and the FFM report."
The United States is desperately preventing international expert visits to the Syrian airbase that it had attacked with cruise missiles in April, Ulyanov said.
He noted that "elementary logic suggests that Washington should have insisted on an urgent visit to Sha'irat by the UN and OPCW specialists in order to incriminate Damascus on an international level of violating the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons".
"But no, the United States desperately prevents international personnel from visiting the air base despite the Syrian government's invitation and its willingness to guarantee the safety of the trip," he said.
In an interview with Sputnik on April 21, Assad characterized the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun as a provocation to justify the US strike on Ash Sha'irat. The Syrian leader also warned of the possibility of the new provocations similar to the one in Khan Sheikhoun.
"[Moscow] expects that this mechanism will be able to eliminate the serious flaws that the OPCW mission committed [and will conduct] a truly serious, highly professional and impartial investigation of all available leads, including that it was staged," he stressed.
The Russian official reiterated calls for the JIM experts to visit both Khan Sheikhoun and the Sha'irat airbase that the United States attacked three days after the April 4 chemical incident.
"In other words, carry out what the FFM has not done. We expect that this work will be performed quickly enough, because too much time is lost and it is becoming more difficult to establish the truth due to the slow and sluggish investigation by the FFM," Uliyanov said.