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Hasty OPCW Verdict on Sarin in Idlib Undermines Credibility - Russian MoD

© AFP 2023 / JM LOPEZVolunteers take part in a simulation of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (File)
Volunteers take part in a simulation of how to respond to a chemical attack, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo (File) - Sputnik International
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chief's conclusion that sarin gas traces were found on victims of the reported April 4 chemical incident in Syria's Idlib exposes the organization, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, OPCW said it had found traces of sarin in the incident victims' bodies.

"The organization representative Ahmet Uzumcu's statement about the alleged use of sarin in Khan Shaykhun raises big questions," spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov questioned how the OPCW, which he said was created as an objective and impartial international organization, was able to come to that conclusion in two weeks while still being unable to identify mustard gas use in Aleppo in four months.

"Most importantly, this hasty declaration by Uzumcu strongly undermines the credibility of the whole OPCW," Konashenkov stressed.

"If there really was sarin in Khan Shaykhun, how can the OPCW explain White Helmets charlatans jumping in sarin vapor without protection means? Everyone has seen it. I would like to receive from [OPCW chief Ahmet] Uzumcu distinct answers to all the questions as soon as possible," he added.

Mikhail Uliyanov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control (DNAC) said earlier on Thursday that the OPCW inaction over chemical weapons incident could damage its credibility as there are no facts that OPCW representatives have visited the Khan Shaykhun area.

Dozens of people are said to have been killed by the suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib on April 4. The United Kingdom, as well as some other Western states, blame the attack on the forces of Syria's President Bashar Assad. Reacting to the incident, US forces unilaterally launched a cruise missile strike on Syria's government airfield overnight April 7.

Men inspect damage after an airstrike on the rebel held besieged city of Douma, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria April 7, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The Russian Defense Ministry said on April 5 that the airstrike by the Syrian air force had hit a terrorist warehouse that stored chemical weapons slated for delivery to Iraq, and called on the UN Security Council to launch a proper investigation into the incident.

Assad said that his government had never used weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, against the Syrians, and all the chemical weapons which had been stored by the government before the deadly incident in East Goutha in 2013 had been destroyed under the OPCW's supervision.

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