Russia ready to grant access to Syria airbase for ‘gas attack’ probe: Defense official

Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:7AM
Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s operations department
Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s operations department

Russia has said it is ready to provide inspectors with access to a Syrian airbase that the opponents of the Syrian government say was used to carry out a “chemical attack.”

At least 86 people died in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria last week in what was claimed to be a chemical attack conducted by the Syrian government. Damascus has denied the accusation, saying that a chemical weapons depot held by militants opposed to the government had been hit in a conventional Syrian airstrike.

But Western countries have been insisting that Damascus was behind the attack, with the United States naming a particular Syrian airbase as the launch pad for the alleged gas attack. The US military launched missiles against that base — the Shayrat airfield in Syria’s Homs Province — on Friday, saying the strikes were carried out in retaliation for the April 5 “chemical attack.”

Russia, which has been carrying out an aerial bombing campaign in Syria on behalf of Damascus, has denied that any chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government.

Iran, another Syrian ally, has proposed that an impartial investigation be launched into the accusations.

On Tuesday, Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s Operations Department, said Russia would grant access to international inspectors to the airfield.

“Experts are aware that it is impossible to conceal the traces of chemical weapons,” Colonel General Rudskoy said.

He said the Syrian government, too, was ready to grant access to experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the army base.

The Russian military official also said the Syrian government was not in possession of any chemical weapons. He said anti-Damascus militants were suffering one defeat after another and were on the run in the territories they had occupied.

“Under such circumstances, the government of [Syrian President] Bashar Assad has no need to use chemical weapons. Moreover, the Syrian army does not have any,” he said.

Colonel General Rudskoy said claims that the Assad government was behind a chemical attack were “highly questionable.”

In 2013, Russia brokered a deal with the US to have the Syrian government’s chemical arsenal turned over in return for a reversal of US plans to attack Syria back then. The task to remove Syrian chemical arms was carried out by the OPCW.

Rudskoy said under that deal, the Syrian government fully destroyed all of the chemical weapons it had access to.

People gather at the site of an alleged airstrike in the northern Syrian city of Idlib, April 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“Out of 12 facilities used for storing and producing chemical weapons, ten were destroyed as confirmed by the OPCW experts. The Syrian government has no access to the remaining two facilities as they are located on a territory controlled by the so-called opposition,” the Russian official said.

He said it remained unclear whether the chemical arms stored at those two facilities had been destroyed.

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“No facts confirming production or possession of chemical agents [by the Syrian government] were found,” Rudskoy emphasized, adding that “Syria has no chemical weapons” and this fact was “documented and confirmed by the OPCW representatives.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the attack on Khan Shaykhun as a “false flag” operation aimed at undermining the Syrian government and warned of a threat of similar incidents in the future, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb.

Controversial draft resolution at UNSC

Meanwhile, a draft resolution has been proposed by Britain, France, and the US to be forwarded to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), calling for a probe into the “chemical attack” in Syria.

A vote on the draft resolution is expected at 1900 GMT on Wednesday.

According to AFP, the draft resolution expresses “horror” at the alleged use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun and condemns the alleged April 4 attack.

The draft also calls on the Syrian government to provide a range of potentially confidential military information, including flight logs and similar military information regarding operations on April 4. It also demands the names of military commanders involved in operations on that day.

The text also calls on Syria to provide access to air bases to UN investigators.


Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:57AM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has apologized for comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

While intensifying his criticism of the Syrian leader during a press briefing on Tuesday, Spicer suggested that President Assad was guilty of acts worse than Hitler’s atrocities and asserted that the former chancellor of Germany had not used chemical weapons during World War II.

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” the White House spokesman said, ignoring the use of gas chambers at concentration camps during the Holocaust.

The generally accepted position asserts that six million European Jews were killed by the Nazis and their World War II collaborators, but some revisionist historians dispute the six million figure, insisting it is massively exaggerated.

Spicer’s comments drew an intense backlash from Jewish circles in the United States and some even demanded his resignation.

A few hours later, a subdued Spicer appeared on CNN and apologized for comparing the Syrian leader with Hitler.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer waits for an interview to speak about a comparison he made between Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Hitler during an earlier press briefing at the White House on April 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

“Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive comment about the Holocaust and there is no comparison,” he stated.

“For that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that,” he added.

Secretary Spicer’s apology quite clearly seems to be directed at appeasing his Jewish critics rather than at correcting his unsubstantiated allegations against President Assad, who has been facing a US-led proxy war against his government since 2011.

In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against foreign-sponsored terrorist groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

Ready More: 

Two US Navy destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syria on April 7.

US President Donald Trump said he had ordered the strike in response to the April 4 chemical attack in the Arab country that he blamed on the Syrian government.

A participant at a rally in Helsinki, Finland, holds up a poster depicting US President Donald Trump and German dictator Adolf Hitler on January 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The US military claimed the airfield targeted was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian aircraft notwithstanding that Damascus volunteered to destroy its chemical stockpile in 2014 following an agreement which was brokered by the US and Russia.

Comments:

Dvor 40 Minuten
Only true comparison to Hitler would be ISRAEL
Gabrielvor 1 Stunde
He should have compared him with Netanyahu.
Defendervor 1 Stunde
Ironic, he is in trouble for offending those that use the holocaust as a weapon, not for his unsubstantiated accusation against a national leader?
BBC, controlling the news, corrupting views!!!
Ricky Spanishvor 1 Stunde
What!! Gassing Jews was chemical warfare!
Johnvor 1 Stunde
Dangerously dumb idiot…..Sean most of the world knows this was a hoax or a false flag….stop making a fool out of yourself..
dodo17vor 1 Stunde
He should read american history before opening his mouth, and he will quickly learn that the world’s worse atrocities has been committed by america and continue to this day. America always use chemical and nuclear weapons during the invasion of third world countries. Is he really dumb or pretending to be dumb ? This all polical propaganda in order to achieve world domination and control of natural resources.
Wallyvor 1 Stunde
This has been a huge laugh in the west. How embarrassing but typical. This guy has obviously forgotten the US propaganda playbook regarding supporting the creation of Israel.
Anti Terrorvor 1 Stunde
Hitler was far better than these Zionist Americans in Comparison
Emmitt Abramoffvor 2 Stunden
Sean Spicer is as dumb as a bag of hammers.
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Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:2PM
PressTv User

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has reiterated unfounded allegations against the Syrian government over use of chemical weapons, saying there is “no doubt” that Damascus was responsible for a recent gas attack.

“Last Tuesday, on the 4th of April, the Syrian regime attacked its own people using chemical weapons,” claimed the US military chief during a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. “I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.”

Mattis made the remarks after Washington repeatedly held Damascus responsible for a last week’s chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib province, which claimed over 80 lives.

Syria has categorically denied the accusation and stressed that its Idlib airstrike had targeted a depot, where terrorists stored chemical weapons.

In retaliation for the suspected gas attack, US President Donald Trump ordered two US Navy destroyers to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at Syria’s al-Shayrat airfield early on Friday, claiming that the airfield had been used to store chemical weapons and Syrian aircraft.

During the Tuesday briefing, the Pentagon chief also stressed that Washington’s military strategy in Syria has not changed even after its retaliatory missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, claiming that, “our priority remains the defeat” of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

In September 2014, the US and some of its allies started conducting airstrikes inside Syria allegedly against Daesh terrorists.

Syria gas attack as “false flag” to set Assad up

In response to the recent remarks by the US officials concerning the suspected gas attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the incident in Idlib province had been used by the US administration as a “false flag” to discredit the government in Damascus.

“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus,” said Putin, adding that, “They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack.”

The Russian president also emphasized that the United Nations needs to launch an official investigation into the last week’s chemical attack in Syria.

“We are planning to address the corresponding UN structure in The Hague and call on the international community to thoroughly investigate all those reports and take appropriate action based on the results of such a probe,” he said.

Earlier, Russia had fiercely condemned the attack as an act of “aggression” from the US.

Syrians bury the bodies of victims of a a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, a town in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, April 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Since March 2011, the United States and its regional allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have been conducting a proxy war against the Syrian people and government.

The years-long conflict has left more than 470,000 Syrians dead and half of the country’s population of about 23 million displaced within or beyond the Arab country’s borders.

In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against Takfiri terrorist groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

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