22:42 GMT +324 February 2018
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    A marine officer of the Cape Ray, a ship equipped to neutralize Syrian chemicals, shows a chemical protection suit to reporters

    Military Chemical Capacity of Syria Has Been Destroyed - Russian Envoy to UN

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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The chemical weapons capacity of the Syrian military has been completely destroyed, Russian Envoy to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said during a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.

    "The military chemical capacity of Syria has been destroyed under the oversight of the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]," Nebenzia said.

    The official further noted that the Syrian government consistently informs the international community on the issue, including the United Nations Security Council about the detection in areas liberated from terrorists, of dangerous chemical substances.

    "All this should be immediately investigated by the experts of the OPCW. We note, however, that, as a rule, titanic efforts are required to make the Hague [OPCW headquarters] to react to such signals. There are a lot of pretexts and excuses not to go to Syria, decisions are delayed. Taking into account last year's history with Khan Sheikhoun and Shayrat airbase, this behavior suggests a purposeful sabotage," the Russian diplomat said.

    A similar position has been voiced during the meeting by Syrian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Mounzer Mounzer, in his strong message to the UNSC.

    "They destroyed the Joint Investigative Mechanism… when they refused to examine evidence on the ground [at Khan Sheikhoun]," Mounzer said.

    Accusations

    The officials commented on the recent accusations against Damascus, voiced by the Syrian opposition White Helmets rescue group on January 26. The group, operating in militant-held Syrian areas, stated that three civilians were killed and many others injured in a suspected chlorine gas attack on Eastern Ghouta.

    Following their claims, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert accused the Syrian government of the attack later in the day.

    Damascus has repeatedly denied any allegations on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities, calling them groundless.

    READ MORE: Syria Refutes US Allegations on Chemical Weapons Use Against Rebel-Held E Ghouta

    Nonetheless, on February 2, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that investigators were looking into reports of the claimed Syrian government's use of sarin gas in those chemical attacks, but there is no evidence of the gas usage so far.

    According to the recent statement of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Washington considers Moscow responsible for the attacks, as, he explained, Russian was covering those actions.

    READ MORE: Tillerson: US Holds Russia Responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria

    Tags:
    chemical weapons, UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), East Ghouta, Syria, United States, Russia
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