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US repeating flimsy Iraq War pretexts against Syria: FM Mekdad

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (file photo via Twitter)

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has lashed out at the United States over its hostile policies against the war-torn country, saying that Washington and its European allies are reusing the same flimsy pretexts they used for the 2003 invasion of Iraq against his country.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons claimed in a report late last month that investigators had “reasonable grounds to believe” the Syrian air force had dropped two cylinders of chlorine gas on the town of Douma back in 2018.

Syria dismissed the statement on Thursday, saying the OPCW has been biased towards “Western positions.”

On April 14, 2018, the United States, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria after they alleged the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

The alleged attack, strongly rejected by the Syrian government repeatedly, was reported by the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, which published videos showing them purportedly treating survivors.

The Western media and governments have on numerous occasions accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own citizens in the war 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.

On Sunday, Mekdad called on the international community to learn from the past, and do not allow the United States and its European allies – particularly France, Britain and Germany – to re-invent their flimsy pretexts in order to justify interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and undermine their security, stability and prosperity.

He recalled that US Secretary of State Colin Powell “put on a ridiculous and deceitful show” at the UN Security Council 20 years ago to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq on the pretext that “Baghdad was in possession of weapons of mass destruction.”

“Everyone knows about the disastrous upshot of the military campaign, as well as the war crimes and crimes against humanity that US military forces and their allies committed in Iraq,” he said.

“However, it turned out later on that whatever he put forward was nothing other than unsubstantiated lies. Powell himself termed his words before the Security Council as a ‘disgrace,’” the Syrian foreign minister added.

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