Russia irked by lack of Syria rebels’ chemical attack coverage
Alexei Pushkov, a Russian lawmaker and chief of the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, has drawn attention to the media blackout on the gassing in the Kurdish city of al-Hasakah in Syria's northeast.
According to the Beirut-based TV channel al-Mayadeen, Islamist insurgents attacked yesterday the settlement in the Kurds-dominated region of Ras al-Ain, however the news appeared in the media a day later.
The radicals allegedly fired a missile at Kurdish positions on the border with Turkey that emitted suspicious yellow smoke.
The locals said they felt dizzy after a while and had other symptoms of chemical poisoning.
Syrian rebel fighters have used war chemicals against Kurdish militias in the northeast of Syria near the Turkish border, according to Al-Mayadeen Lebanese TV channel’s report earlier this Wednesday
Syrian rebel fighters have used war chemicals against Kurdish militias in the northeast of Syria near the Turkish border, according to Al-Mayadeen Lebanese TV channel’s report earlier this Wednesday.
According to the TV channel, the fighters used chemical weapons yesterday near a Kurdish militia post in the city of Al-Hasakah, in the Ras Al-Ayn region. But the attack was not reported until earlier today, the TV channel says.
When the shell with war gas that the rebels fired on Kurds burst, the militia saw yellow smoke. Then symptoms of severe chemical poisoning followed by nausea became manifest in the militias, the channel reports.
The attack was mounted on the second day of fighting for the city.
Meanwhile, Damascus has been reported to cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, and is engaged in scrapping its war chemicals.
In keeping with the OPCW schedule, Damascus should destroy all of its facilities to produce and deliver war chemicals by November 1st. The government in Damascus is due to scrap all the arsenals of chemical weapons by next summer.
Some 300 mass graves have been discovered in eastern Turkey. Kurds, who died in an armed struggle between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, are supposedly buried there. They may have been victims of chemical attacks, Raci Bilici, head of the Diyarbakir branch of the Human Rights Association, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
According to Raci Bilici, human rights activists will insist on sending international experts to the site for a thorough investigation:
We did a colossal job to discover mass graves in Turkey’s Kurd-populated areas. We found around 300 mass graves containing the remains of thousands of people. Our work is continuing and the number of discovered graves is increasing. This is our part of an investigation. Now experts such as forensics and criminologists should be involved. It’s a different story, a different kind of job requiring qualified professionals and what is important, highly qualified ones. As far as our Association is concerned, we’re ready to contribute in every possible way. We’ve reached a point, when the problem should be paid special attention. That’s why we’re planning to set up a foundation whose main activity will be identifying people whose remains we find in the graves.
We’ve opened around 20 graves so far. It was not done properly enough as, for the most part, it was local people’s initiative and efforts as they hoped to find bodies of missing relatives. In a few cases building equipment was deployed. However, we can’t keep on working this way.
The information that was obtained during the excavations could prove helpful in the identification of the dead. However, all of them were affected by the bad weather as well as by the improper approach to the exhumation. Therefore, we have suspended this work. Post-mortem examinations will continue in full compliance with international rules and under the control of the foundation we are going to set up.
This foundation is expected to reveal how all these people in the graves died. Earlier several statements were made to the effect that all of them had fallen victim to the use of chemical weapons. At the moment one can neither confirm nor disprove these statements. However, there is reason to believe that everything will become clear soon. Then the legal aspect will emerge. Therefore, during the post-mortem examination the presence of representatives of international agencies is a must and we will insist on that.
We believe that the Turkish government will demonstrate interest in joint work in this field. All the victims in these graves must be identified, and all those who are responsible for these crimes convicted.
Voice of Russia, Interfax