Alleged chemical weapons attack a lie to justify USA strike, says Assad

17 April, 2017, 04:57 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks at the presidential palace in Damascus Syria

"They fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack". The U.S. says Assad's government carried out the attack, and it accuses Russian Federation of trying to deflect blame from Assad.

Eighty-nine people were killed and others injured in the April 4 gas attack in Idlib province. Senator Bernie Sanders, (I, VT) said that while Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad must go, it should be done unilaterally. "It is an attempt by him to throw up false flags, create confusion", said department spokesman Mark Toner, alluding to what Assad said in the interview Wednesday. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said Syrian warplanes had "struck an insurgent storehouse containing toxic substances to be used in chemical weapons".

The OPCW said on Thursday that a fact-finding mission was analysing samples gathered from "various sources" and that allegations a chemical attack took place in the Syrian rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun were "credible". "You have a lot of fake videos now".

He added: "We don't know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun". "We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history".

And Assad said he could "only allow any investigation when it's impartial, when we make sure that unbiased countries will participate in this delegation in order to make sure that they won't use it for politicized purposes".

The Guardian newspaper has spent several days arguing with sections of its own readership against welcoming US President Donald Trump's April 6 missile strike on Syria's Shayrat airbase near Homs.

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Because of this, the Editorial Board views the Trump administration's strike on the air base the chemical attack was launched from as a necessary and proportional response to Assad's
inhumane war crime.

Assad said his forces had not been diminished by the 59 United States cruise missiles launched at an Syrian airbase in Homs in retaliation for what Trump called a "very barbaric" attack.

On the other hand, Stephen Cohen, a professor of Russian studies, says he's very concerned chilly relations will not lead to warm (good) but will lead to hot (bad): "The politics in Russia today as we talk is if not the conviction - the concern that America is preparing war against Russia - if not in Syria then on the two other Cold War fronts - Ukraine or the Baltic - where North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is building up in an unprecedented way". That cooperation can begin in Syria, where Russian Federation and Assad have ignored going after Islamic State, instead leaving it to USA -backed Syrian Kurd and Arab militias to do the job.

Trump gave such criticism short shrift on Wednesday, saying: "I felt we had to do something about it". While such claims may have been useful to boost sales of Russian arms showcased in Syria, they turned out to mean little: Russia failed to intercept the United States missiles. Up until Trump's action, the USA efforts were largely financial, (US taxpayers have spent $11.5 million dollars a day supporting the rebels) and it appears little difference has been made in the civil war.

Russia, Iran and Syria want an independent investigation and those opposed to the call "don't have a clear conscience", Lavrov said. "At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!" It was the eighth time Russian Federation has used its veto to block action directed at Damascus. After a Syrian ceasefire negotiated by then-Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov fell apart in September, there have been no high-level contacts between the two countries until now.

On Friday the two will join a three-way meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, another key ally of the Assad regime. Lavrov said the fate of Syria was the sovereign right of the Syrian people to choose their political future independently, and not under the dictate of external powers.

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