Claims of the Syrian authorities' use of chemical weapons were just as false as reports of weapons of mass destruction stockpiles allegedly owned by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, said on his Twitter page.
"The allegations of chemical weapons use by [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad were just as false as the lies about [killed Iraqi president Saddam] Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. [Incumbent U.S. President Barack] Obama is following Bush's path," Pushkov said.
The U.S. administration earlier accused the Syrian authorities of using chemical weapons, including sarin, against the opposition.
The White House has put the number of people who died as a result of this chemical arms use at 150.
U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, for his part, told reporters that President Obama had decided to extend military assistance to the Syrian opposition.
Washington's media, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported that the package of U.S. expanded assistance for the Syrian opposition would include some kinds of U.S. weapons.
The reports, however, do not identify these weapons.
Meanwhile, Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad didn't confirm statements from U.S. officials that governmental forces in Syria allegedly used chemical weapons against opposition.
"The information, which the White House announced today, is utterly falsified and is no true," Haddad told Interfax on Friday.
At the same time, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich said that U.S., British and French experts have failed to produce solid proof that the Syrian authorities used chemical weapons.
"We had a series of consultations on these issues at the expert level with representatives of the United States, as well as the United Kingdom and France. One should say that the references that our partners gave us about alleged instances of using chemical weapons by Syrian troops were not substantiated by convincing facts," Lukashevich said.
Likewise, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov argies that the information about the use of chemical weapons is not convincing.
"I would like to confirm that our representatives met with U.S. ones. Americans tried to give us information on the use of chemical weapons by the [Assad's] regime at the meeting. What Americans stated did not seem convincing to us to put it straight forward," Ushakov told journalists on Friday.
"I would not like to draw parallels and to believe this data [on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government] may look like the situation when U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell waved a test-tube at the well-known [UN] Security Council session," Ushakov said, recalling the situation ahead of the U.S. military operation in Iraq.
On March 20, 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq under the pretext of deposing the regime of Saddam Hussein, who allegedly possessed weapons of mass destruction. No weapons of mass destruction were subsequently found in Iraq.
The article is based on materials from Interfax.
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