Assad still has massive chemical weapons stockpile: former Syrian chemical warfare head

Nick Mcbride
April 27, 2017

This comes shortly after the tripartite conference of the Russian, Iranian and Syrian foreign ministers in Moscow, at which they all three warned the United States against launching any further strikes against the Syrian military.

Lavrov met earlier this week with his USA counterpart Rex Tillerson in Moscow for talks that also focused on the Syrian conflict.

Russia, Syria and Iran strongly warned the United States on Friday against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an global investigation of the chemical-weapon attack there that killed almost 90 people.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also accused the US of trying to incite further violence in the region instead of finding a peaceful solution.

Sources say things got complicated when President Trump bombed a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that systematically murdered innocent Syrian men, women and children.

"We consider it unacceptable to analyse events from a distance", Mr Lavrov said.

Last week's attack was believed the worse since the Syrian military used chemical weapons in August 2013 to kill more than 1,400 civilians.

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He noted that the two fact-finding departments of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are headed by United Kingdom nationals, which "does not really comply with the principles of an worldwide organization which envisages the structure of all the bodies as balanced as possible".

Russia, Iran and Syria want an independent investigation and those opposed to the call "don't have a clear conscience", he said.

Assad said he could only support an investigation into the Sheikhoun attacks if it was "impartial" and "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".

Syria had handed over its entire chemical arsenal to the UN's Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2014 after hundreds of people were killed in a sarin gas attack in Damascus. Russian Federation has alleged that the victims were killed when Syrian warplanes hit a rebel chemical arsenal.

The Russians could "join a coalition of more than 60 countries in the fight against Daesh, to maintain their strategic interests in Syria, with the prospect of more productive relations with President Trump and in the knowledge that the West will eventually help rebuild the country", he said.

Lavrov said the probe, which Russian Federation has called for before, should be organized under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). "Such attempts won't succeed", Lavrov said.

U.S. Ambassador Ward insisted it was a deliberate attack that amounted to "a direct affront to the Chemical Weapons Convention and, indeed, a direct affront to human decency, carried out by a State Party" to the OPCW, according to the text of his speech that was posted on the organization's website.

Other reports by VgToday

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