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Foreign-backed terrorists responsible for any chemical attack: Syria deputy FM

Foreign-backed terrorists responsible for any chemical attack: Syria deputy FM
11 Mar
7:59

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has 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.

In a press conference on Saturday, Mekdad would not confirm reports of a chemical attack earlier in the week that reportedly targeted the residential town of Hamouriyah, in Eastern Ghouta region, but insisted that terrorists controlling the area and the governments that back them were responsible for any incident involving the use of chemical weapons in the entire Syrian territory.

Mekdad called on responsible international organizations to investigate the claims “professionally” and “honestly.”

He reiterated Syria’s position on the use of chemicals and said accusing the military of attacking civilians with chemicals was solely meant to undermine its advances against the terrorists’ positions.

He recalled Syria’s efforts in implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118, which demanded an annihilation of the country’s chemical stockpiles, saying Syria enforced the measure despite “difficult and very complicated situation” it faced during the war on terror.

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.

Smoke billows in the militant-controlled town of Misraba, in Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, March 10, 2018. (AFP photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the claims were fake and served terrorists’ interests. Putin said that it was a well-known tactic of the terrorists in Syria to launch a chemical attack and then start a blame game against the government.

It is the third time since the start of the war in Syria in 2011 that the military is accused of using chemicals. Western governments launched a massive campaign against Syria and Russia last year when they claimed that Syrian and Russian fighter jets had bombed the northern town of Khan Sheikhun with phosphorus. That never proved to be a case against Syria while Russia’s intelligence showed that the jets actually bombed a depot used by anti-government militants to store chemical weapons.

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