Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Russia, Syria and the Fears of the West

Russia, Syria and the Fears of the West

Russian Federation and Iran demanded an impartial investigation and the setting-up of an independent commission, additional to the mechanisms of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was incapable of accepting that initiative.

More than 80 people were killed in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April, and hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with a nerve agent.

He told Agence France-Presse this week that he wasn't even confident the dead children shown on video were "dead at all".

Syria's President Bashar-al Assad says reports of a chemical attack by his forces were "100% fabrication".

"Let us face the truth: Assad has been clinging on".

"Our impression is that the West, mainly the United States, is hand-in-glove with the terrorists", Assad said, according to the wire service.

"Assad uses chemical weapons because they are not only disgusting and indiscriminate".

He said investigators have collected samples that have been sent for analysis.

"We find it necessary to conduct a thorough, objective, impartial and professional investigation and will insist, in the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and in NY, in the United Nations, on sending inspectors to the site of the incident as well as to the airport, where, according to our colleagues' claims, shells with chemical weapons had been equipped". Assad's government told the organization it had a 1,300-ton stockpile of chemical weapons and chemicals used to make them. "Syria provided a grossly incomplete declaration to the OPCW of its chemical weapons program".

Mrs May said: "They are very clear that sarin or a sarin-like substance was used and as our ambassador to the United Nations made clear yesterday, like the United States, we believe it is highly likely that attack was carried out by the Assad regime. It continues to possess and use chemical weapons".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a chemical-weapons attack in Syria that provoked USA missile strikes on the Middle Eastern country may have been orchestrated.

The US had, until its Shayrat attack, limited its involvement in Syria to removing the so-called Islamic State (IS) from its stronghold in the city of Raqqa.

Lavrov said he emphasized the need for a wide-ranging OPCW probe during Wednesday's talks in Moscow with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, suggesting that Western nations, Russian Federation and some regional powers could dispatch additional experts to join the investigation.

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