MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Damascus is calling on the United States to stop supporting armed groups in Syria perpetrating chemical attacks and blaming the Syrian government for carrying them out in order to prevent further incidents, Syria’s Ambassador to China and former envoy to the United States, Imad Moustapha, has told Sputnik.
"He [Ford] knows very well that chemical weapons were not only used by Daesh, but even more so by the "moderate" armed groups that the US proudly supports. As long as the US and its Western allies will collude with these groups whenever they stage a new chemical attack, immediately accuse the Government of Syria of perpetrating these attacks, and penalizing Syria for what the terrorist groups have committed, then we will see no end to these attacks," Moustapha said, referring to a statement made by Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation on the US National Security Council (NSC) Christopher Ford, who said that the use of chemical weapons in the Middle East was "business as usual", noting the terrorists of the Daesh terrorist group regularly used them against their opponents.
According to the Syrian diplomat, blaming Damascus for carrying out chemical attacks against own citizens only benefits the terrorists operating in the country, whereas "the only way to stop these attacks from happening in future is to deprive the terrorists of political benefits of these attacks."
Syrian authorities believe that the report of the United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) on the chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun is flawed, politically-biased, and irresponsible, he emphasized.
On October 26, JIM presented to the UN Security Council (UNSC) a confidential report on the attack, carried out in the Syrian opposition-held province of Idlib. Some Western media, which had access to the report, quoted the document as saying that the government of Syria’s President Bashar Assad was responsible for the gas attack on April 4. The panel also reportedly blamed Daesh for using sulfur mustard in an attack on Syria's Um Housh on September 16, 2016.
The report "relies on findings" of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Syria that was published in June following the investigation into the incident. The mission revealed that the victims had been exposed to sarin, a toxic substance, or a sarin-like substance. The FFM did not send its staff directly to the site, but completed the probe by conducting interviews, and collecting evidence and samples, such as video footage of the incident and hair from a dead goat found at the scene.
The Syrian government has rejected the OPCW report results, noting that the experts had not done any investigations directly at the scene of the incident in Khan Sheikhoun, while the Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations said the report looked more like an amateur document, and was based mostly on assumptions, and the selective use of facts.
Chemical Attack in Idlib
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, supported by the United States, immediately blamed the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against the civilian population over the Khan Sheikhoun incident that took place in Syria's Idlib province on April 4, 2017, which left 80 people dead and injured 200 more.
Moscow, for its part, recalled that all chemical weapons were taken out of Syria in mid-2014 with Washington's assistance and called for a thorough probe into the Khan Sheikhoun events.