Russia: Syria Willing to Clarify Use of Chemical Weapons on Syrian Soil

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Victim of chemical attack by Al-Qaeda FSA in Khan Asal, Aleppo
Victim of chemical attack by Al-Qaeda FSA in Khan Asal, Aleppo

Syria’s OK for UN investigation shows willingness of Syrian government.

After the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the Syrian government in the capital Damascus have already announced that both sides agreed on all modalities of the upcoming investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict by a small team of UN experts, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said to the press that this acceptance by Syria to receive the experts’ team of the United Nations (UN) shows the willingness of Damascus to clarify the alleged use of chemical weapons on Syrian soil.

However, Russian experts have already found evidence after the investigation of samples from the place of attack that sarin nerve gas was used by a group of foreign-backed terrorists in an attack in the Syrian region of Khan al-Assal near the strategically important city of Aleppo (Halab) in March, 2013.

While the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stated that Moscow considers the acceptance by the Syrian government in Damascus to receive the UN experts’ team so that the UN team is able to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons such as sarin nerve gas in the Syrian conflict as a sign the willingness of the Syrian government to finally clarify this, it is interesting that the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov did not mention the Russian investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria – the investigation of samples from Khan al-Assal by Russian experts has led to the result that “first-hand evidence” for the use of sarin nerve gas by a group of terrorists has been found.

The results and final report of the Russian investigation was handed over to the United Nations (UN) about four weeks ago. Since then, the United Nations (UN) remained very quiet about this topic.

An official of the Syrian Foreign Ministry said yesterday, one day after the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has already confirmed the cooperation of the Syrian government in the capital Damascus in terms of the upcoming investigation, that the recent negotiations between the Syrian government and the officials of the United Nations (UN) have ended positively and that the UN experts of the investigation team will soon (in the next days) arrive in Damascus in order to begin with their investigations.

The UN team shall probe whether chemical weapons have been already used in the Syrian conflict and is allowed to investigate three locations in Syria, including the area of Khan al-Assal, where the Russian investigation has found evidence that a group of foreign-backed terrorists used sarin nerve gas in an attack against Syrian civilians and soldiers in March, 2013. In this attack from March, the armed terrorists have killed over 30 people in Khan al-Assal, which is located near the former important economic centre of Syria, the city of Aleppo.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said now that the acceptance of the Syrian government was an indication to its readiness to clarify the use of chemical weapon on Syrian soil since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab nation.

According to the report by Russia Today (RT), Gennady Gatilov further said in terms of the agreement by Syria and the United Nations (UN) about the upcoming investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict that this acceptance of Syria creates “a positive ground” to move towards the launch of a political process to settle the conflict and crisis in Syria. According to Russia Today (RT), the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov made these remarks on his account at the short-messaging service Twitter.

Victim of chemical attack by Al-Qaeda FSA in Khan Asal, Aleppo
Victim of chemical attack by Al-Qaeda FSA in Khan Asal, Aleppo

The Syrian government has called for an international investigation of the alleged use of chemical weapons by terrorists in Khan al-Assal (Khan al-Asal) near the city of Aleppo on March 19th, 2013. However, the Russian investigation found the mentioned “first-hand evidence” for the use of sarin nerve gas by a group of terrorists in this attack in Khan al-Assal, but the United Nations (UN) seem to either not trust Moscow or to still maintain a policy of double-standards.

The final agreement on the soon beginning investigation by the UN experts’ team has been reached last month. Ake Sellstrom and Angela Kane are the heads of this UN team of experts. Angela Kane is the UN disarmament chief and Ake Sellstrom is a known Swedish arms expert. Both are expected to arrive in the Syrian capital Damascus within the next few days.

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