Kremlin says Idlib tragedy may be exploited by terrorists

April 6, 2017 TASS
Khan Sheikhoun
Men ride a motorbike past a hazard sign at a site hit by an airstrike on April 4 in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, April 5, 2017. The hazard sign reads, "Danger, unexploded ammunition" Source: Reuters

The tragedy in the Syrian province of Idlib related to the alleged use of chemical weapons may be exploited by terrorists and those who are trying to delegitimize the Syrian authorities, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on April 6.

"No doubt, forces exist that are pushing for de-legitimization of the lawful leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic. And there exist the forces of terrorism and those who support terrorists," the presidential spokesman said in reply to a question about who, in his opinion, stood to gain from exploiting the situation with the alleged use of chemical weapons.

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, the issue of the possibility of setting up an international commission to investigate the incident is of technical nature.

"The main idea is that no hasty conclusions should be made. An exchange of information is needed and it is necessary to compare available information and conclusions can be made only after but not before that. And any conclusions that are made before such an exchange of information and before an investigation undoubtedly cannot be considered as the conclusions that reflect reality," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"We undoubtedly believe that this - the use of chemical weapons - is absolutely inadmissible. We believe that it is necessary to do everything possible to exclude the possibility of using chemical weapons in Syria and, of course, it has to be hoped in this regard that the Syrian armed forces will be taking all necessary actions to ensure that some substances, which can be used as chemical weapons, do not fall into the hands of terrorists and are not used by terrorists," Peskov said.

The April 4 chemical attack in the city of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's northern province of Idlib, which killed at least 72 people, was first reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. According to Reuters,  the air strike could have been carried out by the Syrian government forces in a suspected gas attack. 

The Russian and Syrian militaries denied their involvement in the incident. The Russian defense ministry later said that the air strike on Khan Sheikhun’s eastern suburbs had been delivered by Syrian warplanes in the afternoon of April 4. According to its data, the strikes targeted workshops where militants made munitions with poisonous agents that were supplied to Iraq and used in Aleppo.

Source: TASS

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