Russia dismisses anti-Syria chemical claims

Russia dismisses anti-Syria chemical claims
Wed Aug 21, 2013 22:57:02

Russia has described an allegation over the use of chemical weapons by Syria as “preplanned provocation”.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called for a fair and professional investigation into reports that the Syrian government troops had carried out a chemical weapon attack near Damascus.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Wednesday circumstances around the reports, including the presence of UN inspectors in the country, suggested that the attack could be a provocation by the opposition.

"All this cannot but suggest that once again we are dealing with a pre-planned provocation. This is supported by the fact that the criminal act was committed near Damascus at the very moment when a mission of UN experts had successfully started their work of investigating allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons there," Lukashevich said in a statement.

Syria's military command ruled out the opposition claims that the army had used chemical weapons on Wednesday against districts east of Damascus, saying they were a sign of "hysteria and floundering" by opponents.

The denial was issued by an officer speaking on state television. Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said the allegations were "illogical and fabricated."

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) to discuss an alleged deadly gas attack in Syria that, if confirmed, would be the world's worst chemical weapons attack in decades, diplomats said.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million others displaced since the outbreak of the violence.

According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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