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22.06.2018 (12:49)

Tons of chemicals and clandestine laboratories found in Syrian areas controlled by terrorists

The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and Russia eliminated all its stocks, thereby fulfilling its obligations, said Major General Igor Kirillov, the Chief of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence Troops of the Armed Forces, at a joint briefing organized by the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. The event was attended by diplomatic missions and was focused on investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"The United States, Great Britain, France and their allies are again misleading the international community and striving for confrontation. They use staged chemical attacks to accuse the Syrian Arab Republic of violating the Convention on Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Russia of facilitating it. There is also a campaign organized amid to politicize OPCW that has the authority to return tough verdicts of guilty against states and their leaders. The OPCW fact-finding mission in Syrian plays an unenviable part in it, conducting investigations with an eye to the USA and its allies", Igor Kirillov emphasized.

He also said that the investigation of alleged chemical incidents in Khan Shaykhun, Saraqib, and Ltamenah and conclusions on them made without going to the place, is evidence of, at a minimum, an unprofessional approach.

"It is not by chance that the reports contain such words as" likely", "it is possible to assume" , "possible". Such words are unacceptable for an official document that must be based on irrefutable evidence," Igor Kirillov said, adding that remote investigations, as well as collection, analysis and use of documents obtained by specialists without visiting the alleged attacks’ sites, directly contradicts provisions of the Convention.

"Such investigations violate “chain of custody” - a fundamental principle of continuous control, which stipulates for observing a strict sequence of actions”, Igor Kirillov said.

He also drew attention of the attendees to the fact that the only sources of evidence are the White Helmets, Syrian American Medical Society, and Violations Documentation Center. But their evidence is quite questionable, especially given that the White Helmets support terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Jebhat-al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam who confessed to using chemical weapons, which is recognized on an official level.

Igor Kirillov reminded that the White Helmets had staged a provocation in Khan Shaykhun on April 4, 2017 with alleged use of chemical weapons. A shell-hole after the explosion, unusual for a powerful air bomb, was considered to be evidence of it.

"Analyses showed that the shell-hole was formed as a result of detonation of a small explosive device placed on the ground, and not an air bomb dropped from an aircraft. It is to be stressed that the shell-hole had been hastily cemented even before the investigation was completed," Igor Kirillov said.

According to him, footage showing people without special respiratory and skin protection made during the first hours after the chemical attack causes unutterable bewilderment.

"This proves that there was no sarin gas in the shell-hole, since a chemical munition emits inside and near shell-hole a deadly concentration and people nearby could not avoid an instant damage, as well as those who were helping the victims," Igor Kirillov explained.

He also believes that the OPCW mission is preparing an accusatory and doubtful evidence report on the alleged chemical incident in Douma, which occurred in April this year.

Major General Kirillov said that there would be another accusatory report containing pseudo-evidence.

"Obviously, another accusatory report is about to be issued with pseudo evidence," he stressed.

According to him, the White Helmets had followed a scenario tested in Khan Shaykhun in 2017, staging a chemical weapons attack in Douma on April 7, 2018.

The Chief of RBC Defence Troops reported that more than 40 tons of chemical substances were found in the area liberated from terrorists.

At the same time, he said, NBC Defence troops would find a number of terrorists’ clandestine chemical laboratories and depots of toxic agents. On November 9, 2017, in Al-Zahiriya, they found a depot with five special containers (840 liters each, totaling 4,200 liters), as well as a laboratory for manufacturing of poisonous agents.

Major General Kirillov informed that over 40 tons of toxic substances were found on territories liberated from terrorists.

"The Syrian authorities repeatedly demanded the OPCW experts to be sent at the places where they had been found, but they either refused, basing on absence of safe conditions there, or they justified the findings, as in cases with chlorine, for their disinfection of pools," Igor Kirillov said.

The representative of the Defence Ministry stressed that a mined chemical laboratory and a depot of chemicals used by terrorists for manufacturing explosive and toxic substances had been found on April 17, 2018 in Douma,

"However, due to understandable reasons, both objects presented to the OPCW inspectors did not attract any interest," he said.

Igor Kirillov drew attention of diplomats to the fact that all the poisonous substances in Syria had been eliminated.

"Syria exerts any effort to fulfil its obligations and eliminate facilities associated with the former military chemical programme. One object, al-Mleha, was destroyed by the Syrians themselves on June 8, 2018 and the supporting materials were sent to the OPCW, " Igor Kirillov said, adding that now Syria is liquidating the last facility - Tel Kurdi.

In conclusion, Igor Kirillov noted that the Russian Federation always tries to handle concrete facts and arguments, while its Western opponents usually "leave the subject conversation and respond with slogans, blaming Russia for undermining authority and reputation of the OPCW."

"On the contrary, Russia cares about reputation of this organization, seeks to help it overcome systemic failures and shortcomings, to prevent politicization and bias approach in its work," the Defence Ministry representative said.

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