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    (Front row L-R) Denmark's Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Switzerland's Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Than and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah pose along with other delegates for a group photo during a conference on Syria and the region at the Europa Building in Brussels on April 5, 2016

    Tears of a Clown Over Syrian Deaths

    © AFP 2017/ JOHN THYS
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    Finian Cunningham
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    Boris Johnson, Britain's foreign secretary, likes to clown around, even by his own admission. So much so, it seems, that when news emerged last week of an alleged massacre of children choking from chemical weapons in Syria, Johnson was still up for jolly-good fun.

    Take a look at the above picture again. This was taken at a summit in Brussels last week when some 70 nations assembled in the Belgian capital pledging financial aid for war-torn Syria. Britain's top diplomat Boris Johnson was central to the proceedings.

    On the very same day, it emerged from Syria that more than 80 people, including dozens of children, were killed in an alleged chemical weapons incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib Province. The politicians in Brussels immediately made political capital on the deaths.

    Johnson and other Western leaders, including US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have cited those deaths as "evidence" of Russian "complicity." Western media have been non-stop peddling the claims that Syria and Russia are to blame – without a shred of evidence.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow this week to lay down an "ultimatum" to Russia to withdraw its military support for Syria.

    Within two days of the chemical weapons incident, US President Donald Trump ordered his warships to strike Syria with 59 cruise missiles, which resulted in several civilian deaths, including children. Where are the Western tears for those children? Or supposed Western principles for international law?

    The emotional denunciations that have emanated from Boris Johnson and others over the chemical weapons incident, accusing Syria of barbarity, were instrumental in creating a political cover for Trump's subsequent military strikes.

    What actually happened in Khan Shaykhun is not yet known. Russia and Iran have condemned the US missile strikes as unlawful aggression against a sovereign state, and they have called for an impartial investigation into the previous chemical incident.

    But immediately, last Tuesday, Western governments and media began blaming the deaths on Syrian government forces dropping toxic munitions. Britain has absurdly accused Russia of being responsible for "all the civilian deaths" last week in Syria owing to its support for Syria.

    The only initial "evidence" on the Khan Shaykhun incident were videos and claims made by "activists" belonging to the so-called rescue group known as the White Helmets.

    That Western-funded group has been shown to be integrated as a "media outlet" for the Nusra terrorist network and have been implicated in fabricating propaganda videos, such as during the liberation of Aleppo at the end of last year, in order to smear the Syrian government and its Russian ally.

    The Damascus government denies categorically that its air force used chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun last week, or at any previous time. It says, besides, that its chemical weapons arsenal was destroyed in a United Nations-monitored process under a 2013 decommissioning deal brokered by Russia.

    Russian military has said that the incident at Khan Shaykhun may have been caused by the Syrian air force bombing the militant base using conventional weapons, which could have resulted in an accidental release of toxic materials stored in an arms depot used by the insurgents. Alternatively, the militants could have deliberately deployed toxic chemicals on unwitting civilians for the despicable purpose of a false-flag propaganda stunt.

    The prompt video recording of dying children gasping for breath and the rapid dissemination of the images by Western media outlets raise suspicions. The same nefarious stunt involving mass murder by militants with lethal Sarin nerve agent was carried out in August 2013 near Damascus. To this day, Western governments and media continue to blame the Syrian government forces for that atrocity, when it has been convincingly demonstrated that it was actually perpetrated by the foreign-backed militants precisely for propaganda purpose.

    In any case, what actually occurred at Khan Shaykhun last week remains to be seen.

    Nevertheless, based on dubious information, Western governments and media have since last week asserted, apparently without the slightest doubt, that the incident was a horrific "war crime" carried out by the Syrian government. The West has also accused Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin of "complicity" since Moscow is the principal ally of Syria.

    Britain's Boris Johnson said this week while attending the G7 summit in Italy: "If you think about the position of Vladimir Putin now, he's toxifying the reputation of Russia by his continuing association with a government which has flagrantly poisoned its own people."

    Johnson is the lead voice lobbying the West to slap more economic sanctions on Russia as "punishment" for the alleged atrocity at Khan Shaykhun.

    Tellingly, he says there is a "window of opportunity" for Russia to withdraw its support for Syria and to assist Western powers to negotiate a "peaceful" settlement in Syria's six-year war by removing President Bashar al-Assad. In other words, this "window of opportunity" is not for Russia, but rather it is for the Western powers to achieve their objective of "regime change" in Damascus.

    Washington and London are shamelessly using the deaths of Syrians to push their criminal agenda of regime change. First in the form of unleashing American military force directly in the Syrian conflict – a conflict that the Western powers instigated in the first place by using proxy terror groups. And secondly, by pressuring Russia into abandoning its Syrian ally with claims that Moscow is complicit in war crimes.

    The whole US-British double-act is nothing but a sordid charade to cover up for their own complicity in waging a covert war on Syria. The trumping up of war crimes charges against Syria and Russia over the alleged gas attack in Idlib last week is a sordid pretext to further the West's aggression towards Syria.

    Russia has rightly dismissed the British foreign minister as a clown whose antics are a flagrant bid to play politics over Syrian deaths.

    As the saying goes, a picture is worth of thousand words. The image of Boris Johnson joking around with other world leaders in Brussels last week – as with his fooling around with other members of the G7 this week – shows a person who obviously does not believe in the gravity of what he is publicly claiming about "war crimes" in Syria.

    As children were choking from exposure to lethal chemicals, Johnson was all-too-evidently more concerned with joking. And playing politics for his master in Washington.

    Concerns about war crimes in Syria are real enough. But, primarily, those concerns should be directed at Washington, London and other Western governments, along with their regional allies in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who have sponsored and armed terrorist proxies to ravage that country. The continued bombing of Syria by US, British and French warplanes, as well as now cruise missiles, resulting in thousands of civilians being killed is another category of monumental war crime.

    Western ultimatums to Russia over alleged war crimes are a base distortion of the truth about what is happening in Syria. One day, Western leaders should face prosecution for their crimes. Maybe then, just maybe, the stupid grin will be wiped off Boris Johnson's face.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

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    chemical attack, White Helmets, Rex Tillerson, Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, United States, United Kingdom
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