15:44 GMT23 September 2020
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    Syrian permanent representative to the UN Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari accused French intelligence of using chemical weapons in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, which claimed lives of hundreds of civilians. Sputnik interviewed two political experts to learn their opinion on the issue.

    Gen. Dominique Trinquand, an expert in crisis resolution and peacekeeping operations, believes that al-Jaafari's statement is a pure provocation.

    "This is an absurd statement," Trinquand told Sputnik. "The statement was made in a particular context. The Syrian representative made an official statement at the United Nations at a time when Syria is going to start negotiations in order to show that there are certain forces uniting against Syria. They have recalled a story that took place long time ago, and this is not an accident. Syria is on the eve of the talks, and it had returned to the old story to accuse France which, as all have known from the very beginning, does not support the government of Bashar al-Assad," the expert added.

    Trinquand also stated that he views al-Jaafari's statement as an attempt to distract the international community.

    "There really were chemical weapons. The question is, what happened to these chemical weapons: whether they were completely destroyed, or the rebels were able to capture them and use them. And in this case the Syrian government would be primarily responsible for that because it had failed to keep it. And secondly, the responsibility, of course, also lies on those who had used chemical weapons, namely the opposition, if it was them who'd done it," he said.

    Al-Jaafari earlier stated that the sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on August 21, 2013 was designed to distract UN inspection from another incident blamed on rebels.

    "The use of chemical weapons in the Damascus area was meant to prevent from Dr. Åke Sellström from going to Aleppo because [France] knew who had used chemical weapons in Aleppo," al-Jaafari said, cited by the Independent. "They wanted to prevent Dr. Sellström from reaching Aleppo by any means and therefore they used chemical weapons in Damascus with the involvement of French intelligence."

    At the same time, political scientist and Middle East expert Adnan Ezzedine believes that such accusations are not groundless.

    "The statement of the Syrian ambassador on the involvement of France in the chemical attack in Ghouta sounds truthful," the expert told Sputnik.

    According to Ezzedine, France is one of the countries which doesn't support the government of Bashar al-Assad and is interested in overthrowing it.

    "What happened in Ghouta was a real genocide against the civilian population. Of course, France didn't do it with its own hands, but the hands of terrorists under its control. I would like to note that recently chemical weapons were once against used against government forces in Syria. Thus, it is clear who possesses the weapons and uses them," the expert stated.


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