Monday, 18 February, 2019

Russia's latest conspiracy theory: Syria chemical attack 'fabricated' by a foreign power

Sergei Lavrov says Skripals may have been poisoned by substance Russia never made Lavrov read out parts of the report that he said showed the substance had traces of the BZ agent
Sherri Watson | 15 April, 2018, 07:11

Syria has been engaged in a brutal civil war since 2011, with dictator Bashar al-Assad accused of several war crimes - including the use of illegal chemical weapons against civilians.

Zakharova also accused the United States and other mainstream media of inciting the attack, noting that the White House's decision to launch a strike was based on media reports, photo and video shared on the Internet and spread online.

Moscow, he said, has "irrefutable information that it was another fabrication".

The Russian Foreign Ministry also claimed that following Syrian rebels' withdrawal from the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, stockpiles of chemical agents were allegedly found there.

"As for the channels - and they are periodical conversations between presidents and quite regular channels between the military - they are being used", the minister said.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab that worked with the samples that London handed over to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Russian services for security visited the incident and didn't find any kind of substances there, no traces of chemical poisoning were found in local hospitals.

On Thursday, Russia's military said Douma has been brought under full control of the Syrian government under a Russia-mediated deal that secured the evacuation of the rebels and thousands of civilians after it was recaptured by Syrian forces.

However, the Observatory says the facilities were evacuated by the Syrian government days before.

Douma and the sprawling eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus, had been under rebel control since 2012 and was a thorn in the side of Assad's government, threatening his seat of power with missiles and potential advances for years.

Russian Federation and the United States are using their channels of communications on Syria, according to Lavrov. He didn't elaborate or name the state.

The ministry has strongly condemned the US-led military action against Syria, calling it an "act of aggression", which violates the UN Charter.

He added: "Nevertheless, even the smallest miscalculation in Syria will again lead to new waves of migrants in Europe and other things that neither us nor our European neighbours need whatsoever".

"We are open for those contacts, they help to understand each other better", Lavrov said.