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    Volunteers take part in a simulation of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (File)

    Russian General Staff Warns Against New US Missile Strikes on Syria

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    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (199)
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    Moscow warns against new US missile strikes on Syria, chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

    Militants are preparing a provocation against the Syrian government.

    "Militants are delivering toxic chemicals in Khan Shaykhun, the Jira airport, East Ghouta and to the West of Aleppo," the Russian General Staff said. The aim of these actions is to forge another pretext for accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons and for triggering new US strikes."

    "We warn against such inadmissible steps," the general staff said.

    The general reiterated that the Syrian army does not possess chemical weapons, while the remaining two chemical weapons production and storage facilities in Syria are located on the territory controlled by the so-called armed opposition groups.

    "We demand a thorough investigation of the alleged chemical attack by Syrian aviation on the city of Khan-Shaykhun," Rudskoi said.

    The authenticity of media reports accusing Syrian authorities of the use of chemical weapons in Idlib province raises serious doubts, the Russian General Staff said.

    "We have carefully analyzed the materials in the media accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in the settlement of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, their authenticity is highly questionable," Rudskoi said.

    "More and more respected experts and organizations are inclined to believe that the video footage [of the alleged attack] has been fabricated," the general added.

    On April 4, a chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib province claimed the lives of some 80 people and inflicted harm on an additional 200 civilians. The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as well as a number of Western states, accused the Syrian government troops of carrying out the attack, while Damascus refuted these allegations, with a Syrian army source telling Sputnik that the army did not possess chemical weapons.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike near Khan Shaykhun by the Syrian air force hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said April 6 that groundless accusations in the chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib were unacceptable before the investigation into the matter had been carried out.

    However, the incident was used as pretext for a US missile strike against the Ash Sha'irat airbase carried out late on April 6. US President Donald Trump characterized the strike as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government troops while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was a violation of the international law. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the US missile strike against the Syrian airfield as a strategic mistake.

    Earlier this year, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the country’s government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrian people. Besides, under a Russian-US deal after the east Ghouta sarin gas incident in 2013, Damascus joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and agreed to destroy its stockpile under Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) oversight. In January 2016, the OPCW announced that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed.

    Topic:
    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (199)
    Tags:
    chemical weapons, The Syrian war, Russian General Staff, Sergei Rudskoi, Khan Shaykhun, East Ghouta, Syria, Russia, Aleppo
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