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Damascus Unsurprised by Revelations About Redacted OPCW Report on Duma Attack - Ambassador

© AP Photo / Kevin WolfSyrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha (File)
Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha (File) - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Damascus is not surprised by a WikiLeaks assertion that the OPCW report on the alleged April 2018 chemical attack in the Syrian city of Duma was significantly doctored, Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to China and a former envoy to the United States, said on Monday.

The ambassador believes that it was really done to point the finger at the Syrian government and to cover up armed groups.

"The information revealed in this email is not new to us. The Syrian government has already been told by previous investigating teams that their reports were significantly editorialised and twisted to convey a predetermined indictment against the Syrian government while all evidences were pointing to the armed groups and their white-helmets stage directors", Moustapha said.

He stressed that "every team without exception" had assured the Syrian government that their findings substantiated the government's account of events, which, nevertheless, had not been reflected in the final report.

"However, the reports published by the OPCW secretariat came in stark contrast to their findings and were heavily manipulated to serve the political agendas of the Western powers", the diplomat added.

The ambassador added that the OPCW has discredited itself by its "biased" reports and should no longer be trusted, while independent investigations could be well conducted under the aegis of BRICS nations or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

"The OPCW has completely ruined its reputation as an honest arbiter. Any investigation conducted by its inspectors will end up in the trash-bin of its secretariat, while a report on the outcome of its findings would have been already prepared, even before the start of their investigations. If an independent investigation is to be carried, then it probably should be under the umbrella of the BRICS group, or the Shanghai Organization, but definitely not by the OPCW that has allowed itself to become a pawn in the dirty war against Syria", he said.

On Saturday, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks published an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he voices his "gravest" concerns over a redacted version of the report he co-authored. According to the OPCW employee, the modified report misrepresented facts, omitted certain details and introduced "unintended bias", having "morphed into something quite different to what was originally drafted". In the three-page letter, he outlined some of "particularly worrisome" aspects.

2018 Alleged Chemical Attack in Duma

On 7 April 2018, reports about an alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta's Duma emerged. The European Union and the US promptly accused Damascus of being behind it. The Syrian government denied any involvement in the incident. Damascus and Moscow said that the attack was staged by local militants and non-governmental organisation White Helmets.

A week later, without waiting for the results of the international investigation, the US, the United Kingdom, and France hit what they called Damascus' chemical weapons facilities with over 100 missiles in response to the reported attack.

The OPCW finally arrived on the site with a great delay to conduct a probe. In March 2019, it issued a report on its investigation, saying that chlorine was "most likely" the chemical agent used in the incident but stopped short of apportioning blame.

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