‘Chemical show’: Moscow slams latest claim of toxic gas use in Syria

Western media are putting on a ‘chemical show’ fueled by carefully crafted messages that pin the blame on Damascus for the alleged use of chemical weapons, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said in response to the rebels’ latest claims of toxic gas attacks by Syria’s government.

On Saturday, the Failaq Al-Rahman group, an Islamist Syrian rebel cell affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) accused Damascus of discharging chlorine gas in two neighborhoods of the Eastern Ghouta region, where the rebels are engaging Syrian government forces.

READ MORE: ‘US claim that Assad preparing chemical attack is inventing excuse to go against Syrian Army’

The statement produced on behalf of the FSA is nothing more than a “testament” of the official disinformation campaign which has already been launched against the government of Syria, Maria Zakharova said in her Facebook post Monday night.

While the rebel group claimed that more than 30 people suffered suffocation, the Syrian military immediately denied the accusations, calling them “false and baseless.”

“The General Command refuted these claims part and parcel, affirming that it never used chemical weapons before and will never use them as it doesn’t even possess them,” Sana reported.

“The chemical show is gaining momentum. The report on ‘Toxic gas attacks in Eastern Ghouta’ is another testament that the media campaign against Damascus has been launched,” Zakharova wrote.

Incorporating an English copy of the FSA press release on the chemical attack, the vigilant spokeswoman pointed out the meticulously crafted wording of the document.

“I want to emphasize the impeccable English language[in the release], which could be seen in such international documents as the UN Security Council’s resolutions and others,” Zakharova wrote.

The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman emphasized that the language in the document follows “all canons of the Western press-services,” and was apparently drafted intentionally with a purpose of fueling the anti-Assad campaign.

“This is not conversational English… It is the language used in international legal communications. These are the phrases that will then be offered by our Western colleagues… for example, in a draft Security Council statement condemning ‘chemical attacks by the regime against civilians,’” Zakharova said.

Calling the rebels’ press release “only a prelude,” Zakharova warned of further provocations and a continuation of a disinformation campaign.

Over the weekend, Zakharova warned that “many fakes” may soon hit news outlets alleging chemical weapons use by Damascus. In her post Sunday, Zakharova questioned the validity of videos of the chlorine gas attack.

OPCW discredits itself by dodging proper Syria chemical attack probe – Moscow https://on.rt.com/8cqt 

Photo published for OPCW discredits itself by dodging proper Syria chemical attack probe – Moscow — RT News

OPCW discredits itself by dodging proper Syria chemical attack probe – Moscow — RT News

Russia has demanded the immediate dispatch of an independent fact-finding mission to the site of last month’s chemical incident in Idlib and the airbase from where the attack was allegedly launched,…

rt.com

Moscow’s warnings of chemical attack news fabrications follows the White House announcement last week which claimed that “potential preparations” for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad government were underway.

“If Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,” the White House said.

On April 7, Washington launched 59 Tomahawk missiles, at Syria’s Shayrat Airbase near the city of Homs. The strike was in response to what the US claimed was a Syrian government orchestrated chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaykhun – a charge Damascus has firmly and repeatedly denied.

In addition to Washington, the newly elected French President, Emanuel Macron, said France too could unilaterally strike Syria if chemical weapons are used there.

“If it is proven that chemical weapons are used on the ground and we can trace their provenance,” France may conduct unilateral strikes “to destroy the stocks of identified chemical weapons,” Macron said last month.

READ MORE: France’s Macron sees no ‘legitimate successor’ to Assad, declares terrorism a common enemy in Syria

On Monday, Syrian deputy foreign minister Fayssal Mikdad told reporters that Washington should think twice before launching another strike.

“We will not be surprised if the US would commit new attacks on Syria, but the US must accurately account the reactions of Syria and its allies,” the official said, according to Sana.

“I affirm in the name of the Syrian Arab Republic that Syria disposed of its chemical program completely. There are no longer any chemical weapons in Syria, or any toxic chemical materials or gases that could be used in military operations,” said Mikdad.

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Italian Foreign Ministry summons Austrian ambassador over border controls

Italian Foreign Ministry summons Austrian ambassador over border controls
The Italian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Austrian ambassador over Vienna’s decision to re-introduce border controls. The move comes as Austria announced it was ready to deploy troops and armored vehicles to the Italian border over the growing migrant inflow.

“We need to prepare for the migration development in Italy, and I expect very promptly that border controls will have to be activated and assistance requested,” Hans Peter Doskozil told the online edition of the Krone daily.

By assistance the official means deploying 750 soldiers and four armored vehicles to the border, and the minister described the measure as “indispensable if the influx doesn’t diminish.” The forces can be fully operational within 72 hours, according to Doskozil.

“These are not battle tanks. These are armored vehicles without weapons which could block roads. These were already used during the refugee crisis 201/16 at the Spielfeld border crossing [with Slovenia],” a spokesman for Doskozil said, as cited by Reuters.

The controls will include the Alpine Brenner pass, which forms the border between Austria and Italy, one of the main mountain passes in the eastern Alps.

There isn’t a strict time plan for the step-up in border security, but, according to Doskozil’s spokesman, “we see how the situation in Italy is becoming more acute and we have to be prepared to avoid a situation comparable to summer 2015.”

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has said that Vienna is prepared to “protect” the frontier with Italy “if necessary,” as he spoke with the Austria Press Agency, as cited by AP.

Austrian ambassador to Italy Rene Pollitzer was summoned to the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Rome after the announcement of “deploying troops to the Brenner [pass],” according to the ministry’s official statement.

Austria has previously taken harsh measures at its borders: back in 2015, checks were introduced on the frontier with Hungary, and has geared to install barriers on the Italian border to the southwest.

The latest report by the UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, estimated the number of migrants and refugees having arrived in Italy by sea this year at almost 85,000, with over 2,000 others having died or gone missing.

“This is not sustainable. We need to have other countries joining Italy and sharing that responsibility,” Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR’S special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said in Geneva, as cited by AFP.

Another alarming tendency highlighted by the latest report is that few of the migrants coming to Europe will be able to be granted asylum: 30 percent of them are fleeing conflict or persecution, while 70 percent of those arriving in Italy are economic migrants. Most migrants and refugees are young, single men with little or no education, and almost 15 percent are unaccompanied minors.

On Monday, the EU Commission announced that an action plan to diminish the illegal migration across Europe is set to be presented later on Tuesday. Neither Italy nor EU authorities have yet commented on the latest announcements.

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