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    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks to French journalists in Damascus, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on January 9, 2017

    Idlib Attack Aims to Prevent US From Softening Stance on Assad - Syrian Envoy

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    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)
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    The recent reported chemical attack in the Syrian province of Idlib was aimed against the change of the United States' position on the future of Syrian President Bashar Assad after long-term demands of his stepping down, Syria’s Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On March 30, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his official visit to Turkey, stated that the future of Assad should be decided by the Syrian citizens. Previous long-term US position has put Assad’s resignation as essential condition for Syrian crisis settlement.

    "Most probably, these new chemical attacks were really directed against the Trump administration’s public statements regarding President Assad. Now the administration would be blackmailed and forced to toe the line," Moustapha, a former ambassador to the United States, said.

    On Tuesday, the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and some other sources reported that some 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a chemical weapon attack in Idlib, blaming the Syrian army for the incident. The Syrian Armed Forces refuted the allegations.

    Following the incident, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the chemical attack unacceptable and announced change of his attitude regarding the situation in Syria and Assad.

    Following a 2013 chemical weapon attack in Syria's East Ghouta, Syria joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This was the result of an agreement between Russia and the United States on the destruction of chemical weapons in the Arab country under the control of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which also prevented the US military intervention in Syria. In January 2016, the OPCW announced that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed.

    However, in June 2016, the US State Department released a report saying Syria continued to use chemical substances against citizens and suggesting the country could also stockpile chemical weapons. UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo said that the UN and OPCW experts still could not confirm the complete destruction of chemical weapon production facilities in Syria.

    Topic:
    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)
    Tags:
    chemical attack, UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Syrian Armed Forces, Donald Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Idlib, United States, Syria
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