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    Smoke billows after air strikes by regime forces on the town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region, a rebel stronghold east of the capital Damascus, on December 13, 2015

    US Pressuring UN Over Syrian Chemical Attacks to 'Undermine Peaceful Settlement'

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    The United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are being pressured by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to address the issue of alleged chemical attacks by Syrian forces, a Russian diplomatic source said.

    "The US military and intelligence agencies are using all means to undermine a peaceful settlement in Syria. Thus, they’re bringing up issues from the past, like Syrian chemical weapons. They’re pressuring the UN and the OPCW to promote the allegations," the source told Russian newspaper Izvestia.

    Earlier, the United States called on Russia and Iran to help make the Syrian government accountable for allegedly using chlorine against civilians.

    Russian Senator Vladimir Jabarov told the newspaper that for some players chemical weapons are the last chance to topple the Syrian government.

    "There are no other arguments left. Russia initiated the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal. There are no facts to prove that Syrian forces used chemical weapons. Now, the Syrian Army is gaining grounds and fighting Daesh as well as other terrorist groups. Some in the West don’t like that. They want to topple [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. This is why they are developing the issue of chemical attacks," Jabarov pointed out.

    On August 24, the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) and the OPCW published a report on at least two alleged cases of use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Army. According to the report, containers with chlorine gas were dropped from helicopters in Talmenes in April 2014 and Sarmin in March 2015. In addition, the report read that Daesh militants were involved in sulfur mustard gas attacks in Syria.

    Rostislav Ishchenko, head of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting, argued that the US is adding fuel to fire because radical groups trying to overthrow Assad are losing grounds in Aleppo.

    "The defeated party in Aleppo will lose in the Syrian conflict. A defeat in Syria will lead to the US losing its status in the Middle East," the analyst observed. "It will also put an end to Washington's attempts to maintain hegemony. This is why the US is ready to raise the risk bar to the maximum," the analyst wrote in an article for RIA Novosti.

    According to him, Washington’s allegations are an "attempt to replay a lost campaign in the region" by threatening large-scale combat actions.

    Ishchenko noted that the UN and other organizations turned a blind eye to documents and evidence provided by Syrian authorities on gas attacks.

    Allegations that Damascus used chemical weapons are a repetitive story distributed by Western propaganda, Alexander Perendzhiev, assistant professor at the Russian Higher School of Economics, said.

    He agreed that while the West accuses Syrian President Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons it ignores real facts of chemical attacks by Syrian militants.

    "One can love or hate Assad and its policy but it’s clear that the West demonizes and ignores war crimes conducted by Assad’s rivals. By the way, accusations against Assad are very similar to those made by Washington against Saddam Hussein," Perendzhiev told the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.


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    chemical attack, chemical weapons, Daesh, United Nations, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States, Russia
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