Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zakharova Holds Weekly Press Briefing

© AFP 2023 / RAMI AL-SAYEDMember of the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam and the Ahrar ash-Sham (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant) group
Member of  the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam and the Ahrar ash-Sham (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant) group - Sputnik International
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the bombing of a Syrian school in Idlib, as well as possible US' deliveries of hardware to Syrian rebels during her weekly press conference in Moscow.

Attack on School in Syria's Idlib

Zakharova said that over 20 schoolchildren have been killed in a village in Syria's Idlib province.

The foreign ministry spokeswoman said that international media "launched an attack" on Russia by claiming that Moscow and Damascus are behind the bombing without presenting evidence. She added that media outlets site anonymous sources, while blaming Moscow for the attack.

"A number of international media outlets, including Independent and al-Jazeera, have immediately carried out an information attack on Russia, and accused Russia, Russian Aerospace Forces, Syrian Armed Forces, saying that the bombing was conducted by Russia and Syria," Zakharova said.

She emphasized that Russia has nothing to do with the attack on the school in Idlib, adding that the Russian Defense Ministry is set to comment on the issue after examining radar data.

"Russia has nothing to do with this horrible tragedy, this attack. This terrible tragedy requires immediate attention of all international institutions to its investigation," Zakharova said.

Moscow calls on international organizations to join the investigation into the attack, Zakharova said.

Earlier in the day,  the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake said that as many as 22 children and six teachers were killed in an attack on a school in Idlib.

US-Led Coalition's Actions in Syria

Zakharova cited a report by Amnesty International, accusing the US-led coalition of civilian casualties in Syria as result of bombing.

The US-led coalition's actions in Syria destabilize the situation in Syria and violate international law, the ministry's spokeswoman said.

"We are still very concerned over the development of the situation in that country, instability amid actions of Daesh, al-Nusra Front terrorist groups and other similar groups. We are disappointed over the fact that actions of the coalition headed by the United States, the so-called anti-Daesh coalition on the Syrian territory become more and more of a destabilizing factor and make the difficult military-political and humanitarian situation in the country even worse," Zakharova said.

She added that "these forces [the US-led coalition] are still conducting their operations without the approval of the Syrian government, violating the sovereignty of the country and norms of the international law."

Moscow pledged to present a report in the United Nations Security Council on Russia's implementation of agreements with the US on Syria and on Washington's failure to abide by them to avoid speculations on the issue.

Possible US' Deliveries of Hardware to Syrian Rebels

She commented on reports that the US is considering to deliver hardware to Syrian opposition. Zakharova said that Russia hopes common sense will prevail when Washington makes decision on the issue as this "may lead to unpredictable results."

"We hope that common sense will prevail over adventurous approach which can lead ti unpredictable military and political results in the American leadership. We will continue to monitor Washington's real actions when the fate of whole nations is being played with to satisfy geopolitical ambitions," Zakharova said.

If the US delivers weapons to Syrian rebels, they will end in jihadists' hands, Zakharova said.

"Hardware that the CIA may deliver to the so-called moderates, will soon end up in hands of jihadists."

She said that militants in Aleppo received US-made weapons.

"Deliveries of anti-tank complexes and man-portable air defense systems made in the United States have been recorded. Jihadists in Aleppo continue to receive weapons and ammunition," she said.

Report on Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria

Moscow believes that the report on the investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria lacks facts, Zakharova said. According to the diplomat, there are still discrepancies in the report, while it lacks many technical parameters.

"We have thoroughly studied the fourth final report of the joint mechanism of the OPCW aimed at investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The document rests the responsibility on the Syrian Armed Forces for one more incident with the use of chlorine in the settlement of Qmenas. The document has little differences with the third report in the context of not very convincing facts and methodology, from our point of view," Zakharova said.

She said that al-Nusra Front terrorist group and its foreign sponsors are behind "provocations", involving the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

She said that Moscow welcomed the fact that the OPCW mentioned the necessity to investigate use of chemical weapons not by Daesh, but also by other extremist groups in Syria, including al-Nusra Front.

"It is the latter [al-Nusra Front] and its foreign patrons and sponsors who are behind the endless provocations with the use of chemical weapons in order to discredit the Syrian government."

Mosul Operation

Moscow supports Iraq in its anti-terror fight and urges participants of the operation to retake Mosul from Daesh to avoid civilian casualties, Zakharova said.

"We support the decisive steps of the Iraqi authorities on the restoration of the constitutional order in the country and the elimination of the outbreak of international terrorism represented by Daesh."

On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of a military operation to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorist group.

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