Russia: Use of chemical weapons in Syria a provocation

Foreign Ministry spokesperson cited an "aggressive information attack" referring to media reports over a chemical weapon attack

Russia: Use of chemical weapons in Syria a provocation

World Bulletin/News Desk

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich said on Wednesday that reports by "biased regional media" about chemical weapons use near Damascus might be "a provocation planned in advance” and "a sabotage" against a planned international peace conference in Geneva.

In a statement on the official website of the Foreign Ministry, the spokesperson cited an "aggressive information attack" referring to media reports over a chemical weapon attack on Wednesday in Ghouta region near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Syrian opposition blamed the attack on government forces, saying the nerve gas agent used in the assault killed at least 1,300 people.

Syrian government has denied the claim.

"It draws attention to the fact that biased regional media have immediately, as if on command, begun an aggressive information attack, laying all the responsibility on the government," the Russian statement said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed that missiles carrying chemical warheads were launched from an area controlled by the Syrian opposition forces.

"A homemade rocket with a poisonous substance that has not been identified yet was fired early on August 21 [at Damascus suburbs] from a position occupied by the insurgents," said Lukashevich.

Moscow believed, as the statement claimed, the latest possible "provocation" might be the opposition’s attempt to get support from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and undermine the Geneva II peace talks on Syria, a planned international gathering to device a settlement to the Syrian crisis.

The statement urged that the incident should be thoroughly and objectively investigated by professionals, calling for all who has influence on armed groups to stop such provocations involving chemical poisonous substances.

Wednesday attack coincided with the efforts of UN inspectors in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of chemical arms.

Pointing out the timing of the attack mounted when a team of UN inspectors arrived in Syria to probe earlier allegations of chemical weapons use, Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Head George Sabra blamed the Syrian regime forces of carrying out the attack in the suburbs of the Ghouta region in the early hours of Wednesday.

But the Syrian regime strongly denied the claim and described reports and figures as "lies and groundless," blaming international media for covering baseless stories aiming at "distracting a visiting team of United Nations chemical weapons experts from their mission."

Meanwhile, White House strongly condemned any and all use of chemical weapons and said those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also said reports of the "possible" use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime was of "grave concern", adding that any use of chemical weapons in the country would be "totally unacceptable".

UN Security Council was set to hold on Wednesday an urgent meeting to discuss a chemical weapon attack.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 11:25