07:06 GMT23 June 2021
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    The US has, for the first time, admitted that the al-Nusra Front terrorists use chemical weapons against civilians in Syria. Ivan Konovalov, head of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Studies think tank, told Sputnik that the recognition just confirms that US policy in Syria is poorly thought out.

    Ivan Konovalov said that Washington's acknowledgement that Idlib-based terrorists are using chemical weapons once again indicates that the attack on the Shayrat airbase was "a completely stupid decision, testifying to the US' thoughtless policy." 

    On April 7, the United States launched a total of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Ash Sha'irat airfield, with US President Donald Trump stating that the attack was a response to the reported use of chemical weapons in Idlib Governorate, which Washington had blamed on the government of President Assad.

    In Konovalov's opinion, "it is unlikely that the recognition of the Americans will be able to drastically alter the situation."

    "The US and its allies have done so much to demonize Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Syrian Army that the situation is unlikely to change all at once," Konovalov added.

    US policy is all about this: pointing the finger without giving proof and only later admitting that they were not right, according to him.

    He warned against waiting for any significant changes in the situation, given that the US will most likely continue to issue accusations against the government, the army and the President of Syria.

    "Toppling Assad remains an 'idee fixe' for Washington. But in any case, I hope that after the US recognition of terrorists using chemical weapons in Idlib, the international community will look at things realistically, especially at what the Americans are doing in Syria," Konovalov concluded.

    He was echoed by former Russian diplomat Vyacheslav Matuzov, who is currently head of the Society for Friendship and Business Cooperation with Arab countries.

    A United Nations (UN) arms expert collects samples, as he inspect the site where rockets had fallen in Damascus' eastern Ghouta suburb during an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons strike near the capital (File)
    © AFP 2021 / Ammar al-Arbini
    A United Nations (UN) arms expert collects samples, as he inspect the site where rockets had fallen in Damascus' eastern Ghouta suburb during an investigation into a suspected chemical weapons strike near the capital (File)

    Speaking to Sputnik, Matuzov said that the US State Department's recognition of the use of chemical weapons by terrorists in Syria is "a belated statement of the fact."

    According to him, the terrorist groups currently possessing poisonous substances are a threat which is even more serious than individual acts of terror, such as explosions and stabbing.

    "So in this case, the State Department is simply admitting the real state of affairs that both Russia and many in the international community have been talking about for a long time," Matuzov said.

    He recalled that earlier, the US flatly refused to recognize that terrorists possess chemical weapons in Syria, something that he said influenced a position of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) during the investigation of the incident in Khan Sheikhun in April 2017.

    "In general, the OPCW's activity in Syria prompted [us] to believe that it is an American organization rather than an international one. When they investigated the Khan Sheikhun chemical weapons incident, they refused to go to the scene and completely ignored the conclusions of our experts.Instead, they used information given by extremist groups in Syria," Matuzov said.

    He also welcomed the fact that "now the truth is coming out."

    Damascus has repeatedly refuted chemical weapons accusations, reminding that all chemical weapons in Syria were destroyed under the oversight of the OPCW after the east Ghouta sarin gas incident in 2013.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    terrorists, chemical weapons, army, government, policy, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Bashar Assad, Syria, US
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