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Syria, Russia slam politicization of Syrian chemical file

In this file photo, members of a UN investigation team take samples from the ground in the Damascus countryside of Zamalka, Syria. (Via AP)

Syria and Russia have slammed continued politicization of the Arab country’s chemical file by certain countries, maintaining that the Damascus government has honored its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention, contrary to the claims made by Western states and their allies.

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh rejected a series of allegations made at the session by some participating countries, including the US, France, and Britain, that the Damascus government was violating the Chemical Weapons Convention and failing to cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

He said Syria vehemently opposes the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances, has voluntarily joined the Chemical Weapons Convention and fulfilled its obligations under the treaty, and is eager to cooperate with the OPCW to close its file as soon as possible.

The Syrian diplomat said the statements of some countries at the session showed that they are still adamant not to admit the truth, continue to politicize the Syrian chemical file, and level baseless accusations at the Damascus government.

Sabbagh added that Syria regrets the absence of impartiality in the briefings of United Nations Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu.

The Syrian diplomat went on to say that the OPCW fact-finding committee still does not want to accept the fact that terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria are in possession of toxic chemicals, denouncing the smear campaign being waged against his country.

Sabbagh said that Syria and other countries have frequently demanded a review of the report on the alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, and that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has also admitted that there were serious flaws in a Radio 4 documentary on the purported assault on April 7, 2018.

The Syrian UN ambassador added that some member states of the UN Security Council insist on politicization of the Syrian chemical file by calling into question the Arab country’s cooperation with the OPCW, turning a blind eye to the activities of terrorist groups in Syria and manipulating mechanisms in order to pass a resolution against Syria.

Defending Syria at the session, the Russian representative likewise said the OPCW has turned into a politicized instrument used by Western states to punish the unwanted governments. 

The Syrian chemical dossier has long ceased to have anything to do with the issue of non‑proliferation of chemical weapons, said Russia, adding that Damascus continues to implement its obligations under the Convention.

The Western media and governments have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own citizens amid its military campaign against terrorists.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

Russia maintains that its Syrian ally did not use the prohibited weapons or violate the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria acceded to in 2013.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma.

That alleged attack was reported by the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, which published videos showing them purportedly treating survivors.

The White Helmets group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, is known for its coordination with terror outfits in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks in order to incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by a US-led military coalition present in Syria since 2014.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation strongly rejected by the Syrian government.

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