Syria, Russia Call OPCW Report ‘Fabricated’, ‘Untrustworthy’

Syria, Russia Call OPCW Report ‘Fabricated’, ‘Untrustworthy’

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Syrian government condemned a report by the global chemical weapons watchdog blaming the Arab country’s forces for alleged toxic gas attacks in 2017.

In a statement on Thursday, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) "misleading", saying it contained "falsified and fabricated conclusions aimed at falsifying truths and accusing the Syrian government,” SANA reported.

In its Wednesday’s 82-page report, the OPCW’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) claimed Syrian forces had been responsible for the alleged chemical attacks on the militant-held town of Lataminah in the northern Syrian province of Hama during the last week of March 2017.

It alleged that in the span of one week, Syrian fighter jets had twice dropped bombs containing sarin nerve agent on the village and a helicopter had targeted its hospital with a cylinder containing chlorine, affecting scores of people.

According to the report, the team had based its investigation on a range of evidence, including witness testimonies, videos, forensic reports on recovered munitions scraps, medical records and satellite imagery.

The European Union welcomed the report and later said it was considering more sanctions on Syria as the war-wracked Arab country is combating the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, welcomed the report, saying that the 27-member bloc was ready to consider further sanctions on Damascus.

“The European Union has previously imposed restrictive measures on high-level Syrian officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons and is ready to consider introducing further measures as appropriate,” the statement said.

Russia, however, censured as “untrustworthy” the report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), saying the watchdog has violated the basic principle of its work by conducting a remote investigation without visiting the sites.

“The experts, who accused Syria of incidents that took place in 2017, have depended on judgments released by the Fact-Finding committee which included rough violations of the basic principle of the OPCW work that stipulates the need for a logic succession of events while collecting and keeping material evidence,” the press office of Russia’s permanent mission at the OPCW said on Wednesday.

The Syrian government surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the UN and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. However, Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack has taken place.


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