Idlib “chemical weapons attack” reality: Syria bombed REBEL chemical weapons storehouse – By Samer Hussein (translator) / Fort Russ

Russia says military support will continue, vetoes U.S./UK/France UN resolution

Someone tell the White Helmets that Sarin exposure works through skin contact.

Syrian Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mekdad confirmed that the Syrian government provided the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations Security Council with necessary documentation and reports which prove that the chemicals, used in yesterday’s gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idleb province, were in fact stored and possessed by the terrorist groups, operating in the area.

Mekdad said that the media reports, surrounding the events, were used as a tool of distortion and falsification of facts, noting that Syria has fulfilled all obligations to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with the latter already verifying this.

He also denied that Syrian Army is in possession of chemical weapons, by saying: “The army has never used such weapons, even in the most intense and critical battles with the terrorist groups”, while also reminding Staffan de Mistura, UN’s Special Envoy to Syria, to act in accordance with his role and neutrally approach the situation.

Mekdad also stressed that Syria strongly condemns the attacks on Khan Sheikhoun, yesterday carried out by armed terrorist groups and their supporters, operating in the area and called on the international community to hold the parties, responsible for the crime, accountable. He also expressed concerns that Wednesday’s conference on the Syrian issue in Brussels could be used as a tool to spread blatant lies and accusations against Syria.

The Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister further stated that the area where the incident occurred is under complete control of the terrorist groups and that the attacks are obviously their work and that of their aides and supporters, located in Britain, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the so-called “Syrian opposition” which itself refused to play its part in restoring peace and stability to Syria, is now trying to put pressure on the Syrian government by making such provocations.

Yesterday, reports came about a chemical weapons attack in the Syrian village of Khan Sheikhoun, located in Syria’s Idleb province. Almost 60 people, many of them children, were said to have been killed by the poisonous substances that were dropped during air raids on the village. Despite no evidence and the fact that no raids were conducted on Khan Sheikhoun, the Islamist and corporate press accused the Syrian and Russian side to be behind the incident. The two have since denied and debunked the accusations.

Comment: See also:

The Syrian army bombed a chemical weapons depot in Khan Sheikhoun, where such weapons were produced and shipped out for use in Iraq. For Tillerson to say Russia and Iran must bear the “moral responsibility” for this is absurd.

Maria Zakharova provided more details:

“These facts together with soil samples were recorded and handed over to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Unfortunately, without taking any action, guided solely by fake information, the United States, France and the United Kingdom once again… submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that is of obvious anti-Syrian nature and is capable of igniting an already difficult internal political situation in Syria and the region as a whole.”

“Currently, the main goal is to objectively figure out what happened. So far, I want to emphasize that falsified reports on this issue come only from the notorious White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that has already become infamous. Neither the White Helmets, nor the SOHR can be trusted. They have repeatedly undermined trust by [making] fake footages and [reporting] information later denied by all parties.”

The ministry spokeswoman said that the reports by the White Helmets and the SOHR are conflicting as the White Helmets constantly changes its version of what happened. “First they speak about bombings from a helicopter or a warplane. Then they tell about the use of chlorine, then about sarin, change data about the number of victims. According to photos and videos spread on social media, representatives of the White Helmets are providing the victims with help while they [the NGO] have no reliable means of protection and act extremely unprofessionally.”

Russia categorically rejects the draft resolution on chemical weapons in Syria, Maria Zakharova said. She added that the West-proposed resolution is of “anti-Syrian nature” and risks making negotiations process impossible.

“I wanted to note that the presented text [of the resolution] is categorically unacceptable. Its main problem — and its a fundamental one — is that it anticipates the results of the probe and immediately finds those to be blamed.”

“The document is completely falsified, completely based on fake information. Colin Powell number two. Later, you will be ashamed for the actions of your authorities in the UN Security Council, stop your representatives, I am speaking to the Western audience,” Zakharova said at the briefing.

Zakharova’s criticism can be summed up in one Internet meme:

Syriana Analysis has a good breakdown:

Now the Syrian “opposition” are calling for a no-fly zone. We’re sure ISIS feels the same way, guys.

Moscow’s response is the only sane one:

Moscow will continue to support Syrian Army troops in their anti-terrorism effort, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, after being asked whether Russian policy had changed following a reported chemical attack in the Idlib province.

“You have heard the statement from the Russian Defense Ministry and I have nothing to add to the facts they stated. The Russian Federation and its military are continuing the operation to support the anti-terrorism operation and liberation of the country, which is being conducted by the Syrian armed forces,” Peskov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested later on Wednesday that the Security Council should urge the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to launch a fact-finding mission, provided that full access to the incident site is allowed.

“It is crucial to call upon an OPCW fact-finding mission in charge of investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria to collect evidence of the incident under the following condition – the composition of the fact-finding mission will be submitted to the UN Security Council for approval, and it will be balanced in terms of geographical [representation],” Zakharova said, according to Interfax.

Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria, said reliable evidence would be needed to confirm the alleged use of chemical weapons, let alone establish who was responsible for it.

We have no yet any official or reliable confirmation,” he said on Wednesday. “We will be stimulating all those who have the capacity of finding out technically what had happened.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also said there was no evidence yet to draw any conclusion on what had happened in the Idlib governorate, but stated that the Syrian government held “primary responsibility” for the situation.

Update: More responses to the hasty UN draft resolution:

The UN Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss a draft resolution proposed by the US, the UK and France, which would condemn Damascus for the reported use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered an emotional speech that included images of children to argue in favor of swift action. The pictures were used in reporting of the alleged chemical weapons attack.

She claimed the incident carried “all hallmarks” of an attack by Damascus, adding that the toxin used in the alleged assault was “more deadly” than in previous cases attributed to the Syrian military by Washington.

US envoy to UN also accused Russia of failing to ensure that there were no chemical weapons in the possession of the Syrian government.

“The truth is that Russia, Iran and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have no interest in peace,” Haley claimed.

The US has hinted at taking its own action in Syria unless the UN Security Council moves to prevent the use of chemical weapons in the war-torn country.

“When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” the US ambassador to the UN said.

Russia criticized the draft resolution for being unbalanced and jumping to conclusions. It said the document would have to include several amendments, such as calling on the rebels controlling the area to provide full access to UN investigators and setting an unbiased and comprehensive probe into the incident as the primary goal of the resolution.

“This draft was penned in haste and adopting it would have been irresponsible,” the Russian deputy acting envoy to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said.

He also blamed Western members of the UNSC for unwillingness to investigate previous cases of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, where rebel groups were accused of using toxin agents.

Earlier the council was briefed by Kim Won-soo, the UN high representative for disarmament affairs, who acknowledged that the organization so far has no independent evidence on the suspected chemical weapons attack.

From the Duran:

Russia has just vetoed a resolution proposed jointly by the US, UK and France. The resolution would have condemned Syria for a chemical weapons attack near Idlib.

Acting Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov said that,

“This draft was penned in haste and adopting it would have been irresponsible”.

The US, UK and France have been exposed as relying on fake news sources, including the al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets, as a basis for their condemnation, in spite of the fact that the clear evidence indicates that the chemical weapons in question belonged to a terrorist group and not the Syrian government which forfeited its chemical weapons stock in 2013.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley become unhinged and threatened that the US may take action unilaterally in light of the resolution being vetoed. If this means military action against the government of Syria, this of course would be a violation of international law.

Update: After a sanctimonious piece of idiocy on behalf of the UK ambassador to the UN re: the Idlib attack, Russia’s deputy ambassador Vladimir Safronkov hit back:

“In Syria, do you carry any sense of responsibility? No, you don’t,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday. “Everything is guided by the need to change the regime. Even this obsession with the regime change is what hinders the work of the Security Council.

“[The UK] is not doing anything about the situation [in Syria],” he added. “No – it’s true, you are doing one thing. You are submitting drafts in the Security Council that only provoke.”

Safronkov’s comments come in response to Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Mark Rycroft, who challenged Moscow to stop supporting the Assad government. “What is your plan? What is your plan to stop these horrific senseless attacks? We had a plan and we had the support and you rejected it to protect Assad,” Rycroft said.

“Beyond the norms of diplomatic standards your statements about Russia and China are unacceptable … We will not stand for it. You should answer for what Great Britain is doing in contributing to resolving this situation.”

China also responded to Rycroft’s comments.

“The UK delegate… is openly distorting the position of China, this is not to be tolerated,” Chinese UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi said, adding that Rycroft was “abusing the Security Council, [and] doing so will not be in the interests of the Syrian people.”

Trump made a semi-boneheaded remark at his joint press conference with Saudi warlord King Abdullah II at the White House, saying his opinion on Assad and Syria has “changed very much” in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons (which Syria does not possess):

“It crossed a lot of lines with me. When you kill innocent children – innocent babies – with chemical gas… that goes beyond red lines,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday when responding to a question about whether the attack cross the red line.

You’re going to have to do better than that, Trump.

Update: More from Trump – keeping it ambiguous as usual:

“These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated,” he emphasized.

The chemical attack was an “affront to humanity,” he said, adding that the US is raising its voice with the global chorus denouncing the tragedy. Biochemical warfare against enemy militants and innocent civilians “cannot be tolerated,” Trump said.

Last week, the Trump administration announced there was no choice but to “accept the political reality” of Assad’s administration.

However, today Trump said that his strategy is to remain “flexible” with Syria, while noting that the attack will not go unnoticed.

“I now have responsibility” to respond to the chemical attack, Trump said. “When you kill innocent little babies” this crosses not just a red line but “many, many lines.”

Nevertheless, Trump did not show his hand regarding how he would move forward in the Middle East. “I am not going to be telling anyone one way or another,” he said.

Someone should remind Trump that he’s commander in chief of some baby killers of his own.

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