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28 June 201713:28

Comment by the Information and Press Department on White House Press Secretary’s statement about Syrian authorities’ alleged preparations for a chemical attack

1276-28-06-2017

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We could not but notice a sensational June 26, 2017 statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that the US has “identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”  The US side warns that Bashar al-Assad “and his military will pay a heavy price” for this.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has gone even further and tweeted on her account that “any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”

It appears that Ms. Haley is once again referring to the April 4, 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack which is relentlessly ascribed to the Syrian Government without any evidence whatsoever.

We perceive all these new insinuations regarding weapons of mass destruction - made in the worst traditions of the 2003 NATO intervention in Iraq - as nothing but an “invitation” for terrorists, extremists and armed opposition units active in Syria to fabricate another large-scale provocation with the use of chemical weapons. Washington expects to follow up with inevitable punishment for Bashar al-Assad after this provocation. This scenario has been repeatedly used with regard to Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya and also other countries too. Unfortunately, although many officials in Washington have admitted their unacceptable and really tragic past mistakes, it appears that the Washington establishment still fails to draw any practical conclusions from this.

It is not hard to predict the subsequent actions of the United States and its supporters on the “Syrian chemical file.” This issue will once again become extremely politicised at The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN Security Council in New York City, and it will be suggested that sanctions and resolutions be adopted with regard to the legitimate Syrian authorities. In the next few days, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria will present its final report confirming the use of sarin in Khan Shaykhun. Therefore it appears that no one in the West will expect the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) that has been established for these purposes to completely investigate this episode. Damascus’ “guilt” in such crimes is being presented as something incontestable, these allegations are politically motivated and JIM’s formal findings on this matter hardly play a decisive role.

Russia will continue to demand a full-fledged professional and politically unbiased investigation of the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, as well as other manifestations and relapses of “chemical” terrorism in Syria and Iraq, as required by the 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2319 on extending the mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria for another 12 months, on expanding its area of operations and anti-terrorist aspects. This is the only way to learn the truth, and it is impossible to accomplish this task on the basis of fake evidence of Damascus’ alleged guilt fabricated by terrorists, extremists and opposition members with foreign sponsors and NGOs “sympathising” with them.

Speaking of Washington’s bellicose rhetoric, we deem it necessary to warn our American colleagues against subsequent irresponsible actions in violation of the UN Charter and generally recognised norms of international law, as has been the case during the April 7, 2017 missile strike against Syria’s Shayrat air base. If, as Mr. Spicer claims, US military presence in Iraq and Syria aims to fight terrorism, then US actions in this respect should fully conform to the anti-terrorist nature of the international community’s tasks to defeat ISIS and affiliated groups.

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