Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Western allegations pertaining to the Syrian government launching chemical attacks on terrorists-held areas are “fake news.”
Putin made the remarks during a Friday released interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly in which he stressed that the Syrian government had destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile a long time ago.
Syria turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
He added that such attacks were carried out by the militants themselves but they blamed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“All the attempts that have been made repeatedly in the recent past, and all the accusations were used to consolidate the efforts against Assad,” he added.
Putin also noted that so far there had been no thorough investigation into chemical weapons-related incidents in Syria.
“Russia is for a full-scale investigation. If you do not know this, I am telling you this now. It is not true that we are against an objective investigation. That is a lie,” he noted.
Earlier in the day, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad rejected claims that the Arab country’s military used chemical weapons in an area near the capital Damascus, saying terrorists and their supporters should be held accountable for any such incident.
Claims of Syria’s use of chemicals against civilians in Eastern Ghouta came last Wednesday when videos surfaced online allegedly showing planes dropping what was claimed to be phosphorus bombs. The videos triggered calls for a probe from Western governments. However, Syria and Russia, which has been backing Damascus in the terror fight, swiftly denied the allegations.
In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency released on Friday, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja’afari also said that the accusations leveled by the US and its allies against the Syrian government regarding the use of chemical weapons in the Eastern Ghouta region are meant to protect the terrorist groups and block the army’s advance against foreign-backed militants.