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    West Seeks to Prevent Full-Fledged Probe Into Idlib Incident - Moscow

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    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)
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    The West's task is to prevent a full-fledged investigation into the alleged chemical weapons incident in Syria's Khan Shaykhun in early April that can reveal the truth, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, Mikhail Ulyanov, said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ulyanov's comment came after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted against the Russian and Iranian proposal on a probe into the incident.

    "Frankly speaking, we expected exactly this result, with account for the way our Western partners conducted themselves yesterday at the resumed session of the OPCW's Executive Council," he said.

    "The conclusion is one — for us this behavior of Western colleagues is tantamount to the acknowledgment that they understand: the Syrians did not use chemical weapons; so their main task is to hinder… a full-fledged investigation, as it can reveal the truth, which would be extremely unpleasant for them," Ulyanov said.

    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.

    In an exclusive interview with Fox Business on April 12, US President Donald Trump blamed the current situation in Syria on Moscow's support for country's Assad, calling the Syrian leader "an animal."

    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.

    Chemical Weapons Incident in Syria’s Idlib Province (170)


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    Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Russian Foreign Ministry, Mikhail Ulyanov, Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, Russia
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