UN Syria report ignores ‘very factual’ evidence: Russia

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Russia has criticized a UN report for ignoring the evidence provided by the Syrian government about last month’s poison gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
Speaking in Damascus on Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the documents regarding the militants’ use of chemical weapons on August 21 were “very factual” and not political.

Evidence related to the deadly incident “was given to Mr. (Ake) Sellstrom who headed the group of UN inspectors,” he told reporters after meeting with top Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are upset that it did not receive adequate attention in the report,” he said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said evidence implicating militants in the August chemical attack would be given to the United Nations Security Council.

Russia is opposed to a resolution on Syria to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter that can authorize the use of force against Damascus if it fails to comply with an agreement to hand over its chemical arsenal.

“We have received assurances here that this will be done on time,” Ryabkov noted.

The Russian-proposed plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons was welcomed by the US and dampened Washington’s war rhetoric against the Assad government.

A UN report released on Monday concluded that sarin gas was used in the attack in which hundreds were allegedly killed. The inspectors, however, were not authorized to name a suspected culprit in the attack, and the evidence they presented has been subject to contradictory interpretations.

The US and its allies have claimed that the findings by Swedish expert Sellstrom and his team showed that the attack was perpetrated by the Syrian government.

Moscow and Damascus have strongly rejected the allegation, saying Western-backed militants were behind the ‘false-flag’ operation to draw in foreign military intervention.

 

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